Wednesday, 23 December 2015

They grow up so fast.

December 27, 2015. Psalm 148, 1 Samuel 1:18-20, 26. Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:41-52

Here it is, a Sunday only two days after Christmas and he's 12 years old already and acting like a teenager.

They grow up so fast!

Jesus is asking questions, exploring his future career, deciding where to go and when, and hanging out with a different crowd than his family does. Basically, he's becoming independent, and his parents don't like the corresponding loss of control.

It sounds so familiar. Parenting teens is a constantly shifting balance between holding tight and letting go. It's tricky for everyone involved. The goal is to come out with independent and well-adjusted adults (all of us, not just our kids). Speaking as a parent of two teenage boys, I'm in the middle of the balancing act right now. It's hard to let go, to allow the questioning, the exploration, the plans that take them away from the exclusive 'family' time that we parents were always able to dictate according to our ideas.

It would be a mistake for me to continue to be the kind of authoritarian I was when the boys were little. If I try to dictate their every move I will become angry when it doesn't work (and it certainly will not) and they will be resentful and rebellious because it would be the only way to become independent adults. (Or I guess the alternative is that they might stay dependent and live in the basement forever.) I have to let go and let them grow up. Controlling them doesn't work out for any of us.

Jesus is not a baby. We can't control him. He grew up fast a long time ago, and is our Lord, but many of us struggle with balance in our Spiritual relationship and sometimes try to be more like parents than teens. We don't like to give up control of our lives or allow Jesus to ask too hard questions of us. He doesn't go where we tell him to go, or hang out with crowds of our choosing. It's good that we do not dwell for long on the baby stories of Jesus. God's plan for us is that we become independent and well-adjusted adults. Children modeled after Jesus.

The story in Samuel is an example of a mother who is able to let go and allow God to be in control of both her son and herself. Impressive. I don't think I could let go like Hannah did, but she is inspiring.

Colossians is a great reading for all of us who struggle with the balance between parent and child, holding tight and being able to let go of what is not ours to control. Next time I am frustrated, this might be a go to reading to gain some perspective so that I respond well to my family. "...clothe yourselves with humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another....above all clothe yourselves with love....whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Question: What (or who) are you trying to control that you should let go of? Can you trust God to be in control?

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