Two weeks ago, we took our boys rafting at a whitewater course in our downtown area. As the guide strategically placed us in the boat, Chris and I were put in the very front and our boys were placed in the back. Separating us were two teenagers that we didn’t know. I wasn’t happy with this arrangement. The first ten minutes were spent on raft safety and instructions while I found myself continuing to turn around and either repeat the instructions to the boys in the back or make sure they had listened. Unfortunately, I was distracting and in turn missing out on some important rules. Gently the guide kept reminding me to turn around and not worry about the boys. “They are safe here. That is why I have put them in the back with me so they are close to hear and I can watch them.” The next time I turned around, he firmly reminded me that they were safe and instructed that he needed me to be the leader at the front and simply listen and follow his instructions. If Chris and I did our jobs at the front, then he could take care of the back. A few times I could hear him giving the boys directives and it took everything in me to not interject. I knew it was their choice to trust him and simply obey.
After paddling, being soaked, feeling like we were sinking several times and watching one of the teens fall overboard, our boys jumped out of the raft whooping and hollering that they had the time of their lives. Personally, I would have been just fine with a little less excitement and gut-wrenching moments. The rafting guide was right though, Chris and I kept following his instructions and we came out fine and dandy.
As we enter this new season of middle school, I’ve got two boys heading off into new dangers, rapids and obstacles to navigate. I am no longer the only voice giving instructions and I sure can’t be there at every turn to make sure they are listening. It already feels like our family is on a crazy ride where I get sucked under the current. And to be honest, I’m terrified of the thought of one falling overboard. I find myself repeating the directives over and over. Turning around to make sure they are still with us and listening. I feel the huge weight of responsibility and a strong desire to control them into safety and a good relationship with Christ. I keep reminding myself to trust God as our guide. He’s watching and instructing them too and it will be their choice of obedience that will help keep them safe in the back of our boat. As for Chris and I, we need to keep our eyes focused and ears turned carefully to God’s leading. I believe that He is speaking truth to my boys because His voice is even closer than mine. We just keep paddling in the hard current of surrender, choosing to listen and obey even when it gets scary because we trust God to steer our family boat through these waves.
Are you in a messy season where your desire to be in control is colliding with what God is asking you to do? Do you feel the sole responsibility to make sure someone you love is listening to God?
What can you do today to take up your own oar and obey?
Jesus, thank You that You place us in the right place and guide us through life’s rapids. Forgive me for my own disobedience when I try to control those around me, even out of love. Help me to listen to Your voice alone, trust You and obey.