It was just a quick blurb that came across the computer screen, and I only heard it by accident. My boys were finishing up a youtube video and at the end, with no explanation or reason, a voice came through the speaker saying, “Be the kind of parent you want to be.”
Uh, yeah… that seems to go without saying.
But my brain caught that trite little phrase and played it on repeat… as I was driving the car… as I was washing dishes… as I was checking my phone… as my kids played loudly in the living room. I was bothered by it.
Of course I was being the kind of parent I wanted to be, right? Right?? As I was drawn more to my phone than my kids, I wondered. As I noticed how I hadn’t really snuggled with my five-year-old all day, I cringed. As I chose the easy road over the better road, I doubted.
You see, sometimes, I forget what it takes to be the kind of [fill in the blank] person I want to be.
I need regular check-ins to reorient my character. Those typically need to come from something outside of myself—a book, a friend, a podcast. These things encourage me, “Yes, you’re on the right path!” and challenge me, “Have you ever thought about doing it THIS way?” So often I get this “character reorienting” naturally from people around me—those people I run into every week. In fact, in-the-flesh people are often the BEST way for this to happen in my life. (Left to myself, I often gravitate toward podcasts, publications and perspectives that don’t differ too much from my own.) However, I can’t control what kind of guy is in front of me at the ice cream shop, and I can’t “subscribe” to a certain type of mom that hangs out at the park after school. People are unpredictable and unpolished; they make me learn differently, think on my feet, and evaluate my own character and actions. But, hello! I am just not running into as many people these days as I used to… at least not here in CA where we are still very much under COVID restrictions.
So, it took a random voice on a youtube video to knock me back a bit and reevaluate whether my actions and my goals aligned.
Apart from that fluke youtube quote, my biggest “external reorienter” during this time has been the Creator of this world. His perspective is way different from mine, i.e. much, much bigger. As I read his words in the Bible, he challenges and encourages me. He has reminded me of my humble state before his sovereign power. He has shown me areas where I have been ignoring things he is passionate about. He has been revealing his holiness and my sinfulness.
But unlike a podcast or a youtube video or even another mom at the park, God doesn’t just leave me to reorient on my own. He shows me how. And the how ALWAYS comes back to Jesus. Because of Jesus, I do not need to prove myself to God. Jesus has given his perfectly-oriented life for my own disoriented one. It is his life in me that is my reorientation! Without Jesus, I would never be truly reoriented, living constantly aware that I am unable to be the parent/friend/spouse/daughter that I want to be. But through Jesus, my reorientation is perfected and kept permanently before God. #ohthankheaven
If you struggling to find that “outside” voice that sees the world differently than you do, will you allow God to reorient you this week? Try opening up a Bible and believing that his words are true. He loves you, and he wants to reorient you for good!
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2