Monday, October 13, 2008

Where's The Path, Lord?

Last night, we took our youth group on a hike through the woods to enjoy the beautiful autumn colors. One of the leaders has a beautiful piece of property with some well kept trails through it. We mostly stuck to the trails, but a few times we forged our own. After the hike, we gathered around a campfire for some smores and fun. It was a great night.

Afterwards, I got to thinking. It wouldn't be much fun (for me, that is) if I had forge my way through the woods without a path for very long. Dense undergrowth and thorns can be tricky and tedious to navigate. And yet, that's exactly how I feel sometimes when it comes to raising children and disciplining them--like I'm making little progress and getting all scratched up by the thorns.

Although God gives lots of general principles about raising up children, much of our day-to-day disciplining falls into that grey area of our own discernment within those guidelines. Some days I definitely have more discernment than others, and I long for more specific instructions, don't you?

But just because God doesn't give us a detailed instruction manual with our children, that doesn't mean we have to do it on our own and forge our own paths. As with every area of our lives, He wants us to constantly seek his wisdom in the decisions we make.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

For many of us including me, these verses are almost as familiar as John 3:16, and we've sung them around a campfire similar to the one we enjoyed last night. Yet, I find myself asking, how often do I fail to heed them in the rush of life? In the heat of the moment, when discipline is called for, how many times do I stop and pray first before dealing out the consequences? Those few times I do (mainly because I'm ready to explode), God is always faithful to calm my heart and help me focus on the real issues--which may or may not have been what caught my attention in the first place. So why don't I do it all the time? Why don't I acknowledge him all the time, in all my ways--especially when it comes to the most precious gift he has given me, my children?

I wish I had an answer. It's foolish not to.

I'm praying He'll help me to stop and seek his wisdom more faithfully, and in the process, allow Him to make the paths of raising my boys more straight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post, I love the analogy of forging your own trail in the woods, and how tough that could be. So true, so many great spiritual analogies with that. :)
I think we are both on similar paths right now. :)
Thanks for your comment on my post about Christ being the center of our lives. You are right about the concept of praying continually....while driving, doing dishes etc.