Living in a Dream World
by Stephen Sanders, Audio/Video Editor for Salem Web Network
A life with no challenges would be awesome, wouldn’t it? Always making the right decision, never running out of money, your kids always doing what they are supposed to do, never biting off more than you can chew... circumstances just magically falling into place so that we can effortlessly waltz through life in a state of constant enjoyment. Man, that sure would be nice...
Let’s just close our eyes for a few seconds and imagine what that would be like…
I’m 32, and I have 3 daughters. One of them just turned 13. The other is 7. The youngest is 2. They are all very, very different. I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelming this can be sometimes.
The baby is absolutely the cutest little thing ever. However, she has turned out to be the “stubborn child.” She writes on everything no matter how many times we tell her to stop. She refuses to use the potty. She will do a halfway-pee in her diaper, hold it and wait for you to change it, then pee in the fresh one immediately. It’s not like we don’t discipline her because we do!
But she’s cute, and she’s little and can only really get into so much trouble, so she doesn’t stress me out too much…
The middle child is fairly drama free these days. She recently got 1st and 2nd semester honor roll and citizenship awards at school with pretty much zero supervision. But a couple years ago she was the bane of her K4 teacher’s existence. I got called to the office, seriously, almost every single day that school year for her bad behavior. The principal felt like our daughter might have psychological problems. The teacher broke down in tears in the middle of multiple conversations. We had no answers.
The very next year my daughter was the teacher’s pet. But, at the time, we blamed ourselves for these issues because we were her parents. Now we don’t feel like such failures.
My oldest is actually my stepdaughter, and this relationship comes with obvious trials. She’s also a very attractive 13-year old; this poses even more issues. And if that wasn’t enough already, there are the unexpected things that happen. They are like dreams you hoped would never happen but did. Then they rear their ugly heads and taunt you like a nightmare you swear you’ve had before…
…they cause you to wake earlier than you want to type a devotional at 4am…
I remember living in a dream world when I was her age. I knew everything. Everyone else was wrong and stupid. I know that will change. What I don’t know is what scares me. Will she get involved in the wrong crowd at school? Will she make one bad decision and end up pregnant before she graduates? Will she grow up and want to live a life that is pleasing to God or pleasing to her? These are new questions that have started popping into my head recently.
I try so hard. I desire more than anything for her to grow up and have a perfect life; a life where she always makes the right decisions. A life where she never runs out of money. A life where... yeah...
I begin to realize that my expectations for her life are unrealistic. She is going to make bad decisions. I just need to be here to listen, to guide and to comfort her. Let her fail. In those things, listen to her worries and hurts and remind her why we need Jesus in the first place.
He isn’t our God for our benefit... even though our relationship with Him does benefit us. He isn’t our God because He will make us rich and healthy and free from the pain and difficulties of this world we live in. But He is here with us through these trials.
Intersecting Faith and Life: I recently started studying the Book of Psalms; a part of the Bible I’ve always neglected to see the true value in. I suppose God must have inspired them for times when His people were having times like I’m having right now. It’s only by God’s grace that I am as content as I am these days. I honestly don’t stress too much about the things that are going on in my life. Even when I do begin to stress, God brings others to my attention, like homeless people, and I realize things could be so much worse. Or maybe the material things I deem so important actually cause me more stress… who knows.
All I know is that God continues to teach me how to be more like Him. My kids will be OK. My family will grow and become everything they are supposed to be. I just have to have faith in God and know that He has a plan that is so much greater than I could ever predict -- that this crazy world I live in isn’t going to change. I will probably have a few more sleepless nights because of it; some nightmares may actually come true, but He is with me to provide peace and restoration and comfort.
For Further Study
“In the House of God, Forever” by Jon Foreman