How are you Doing?
June 21, 2023 | Chad Vinson
The conversation usually begins with, “How are you?” or “How have you been doing?” It seems a simple enough question to answer, but I find myself all over the place attempting to answer it.
I guess the short answer is, "How can I be old enough to have children graduating high school and going off to college when it seems like yesterday I was in that situation?" You know what they say, “the days are long, and the years are short.” Or, “Time doesn’t slow down for anyone.” One day I am going to meet “they” and shake “they’s” hand and tell “they” you are right about that Jack!
Maybe, I have been stuck in a fog of parenting nostalgia. Struggling to come to grips with reality—the reality that my life is changing. This change has caused me to feel like I am on my own personal roller coaster. One minute I feel relief (life is slowing down), and the next I feel regret (I should have been more patient and less demanding). At other times I am thankful (God used a knucklehead like me), and the next I am in tears (I’m going to miss them!). Some days I feel like an overcomer (when I love instead of fix), and the next day I am second guessing myself (Did I do enough to prepare them?). But what I forgot along the way is God has been preparing me the entire time. And I naively thought I was doing all the parenting!
When it comes to parenting, I often think back to my own dad. Unfortunately, my parents' marriage didn’t make it and I was caught in the crosshairs. They could never work out their differences. Long story short, my dad wasn’t perfect. He had his shortcomings. However, when it came to parenting, my dad did something that I am not sure he even knows was biblical. Funny how God works!
I grew up in a small eastern North Carolina town. My dad was a schoolteacher and a coach. I couldn’t go anywhere, and I mean anywhere in our small town, without someone saying, “Yep, I can tell you are Coach Vinson’s son by the way you look, talk and act.”
But Dad instilled more into me what people could see. He gave me . On many occasions, he reminded me I had to remember who I was and who I belonged to. Next, he expressed his love for me. He reassured me that I was loved by not rejecting me. Lastly, he was pleased with me. He would tell me he was proud of me! But what was so incredibly difficult for me to comprehend is he would tell me this when I had completely failed at something. I can still hear his voice in my head, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” His affirmation in my life grounded me with the stability I needed. But my dad was following the lead of a better and greater Father!
Interestingly enough, twice in the Gospels, God the Father speaks to Jesus these words, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” These two separate occasions were at the baptism of Jesus and at the Mount of Transfiguration. Identity brings value: “This is my son.” Love brings security: “Beloved” or “whom I love”. Pleasure brings motivation: “With whom I am well pleased.” The Old Testament in Zephaniah says it like this, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with his love, he will exult over you with loud singing.”
The application for my boys in principle seems to be straightforward. Identity is given rather than earned, so it will be secure during accusation and pressure. Love is given rather than earned, so when one hears the voices of rejection they will not be destroyed. Pleasure is given rather than earned, because it brings that I am never a disappointment or embarrassment.
So, the next time someone asks you, “how are you?” or “how have you been doing?” Consider how you are receiving God’s affirmations of you:
Identity: What He says is true about you as His child?
Love: What He lavishes on you as His child?
Pleasure: How does He rejoice over you as His child?