I’m constantly struggling to find the healthy balance between “nudging” my children to God (or in my case “pushing” them since I do absolutely nothing halfway) and allowing God to move and lead in my kiddo’s lives.
As a recovering legalist and one known for her “intensity”, my fear is that my boys will be so turned off by the intense life of ministry I lead that they want nothing to do with God.
I catch myself “managing” my children’s spiritual journey instead of inspiring them through servant leadership. The control freak in me wants to choose God for them!
I’ve come across this comparison of a leader and a manager several times over the years. It still inspires me and rings true today! I wondered, though, what it would look like if we viewed it from the lenses of leading our children to love the Bible, versus managing them.
So here goes…
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original. There’s a ton of great content out there – Pinterest ideas, YouTube videos and countless incredible blogs – all with wonderful ways God has inspired folks to lead their children to the Lord. I find myself overwhelmed and frustrated, feeling like I’ll never be “as good as so-and-so”. I have to remember though, that God made each of us, and our children, uniquely. If we embrace that each of us will lead differently, and that our children will each learn differently, we can stop comparing ourselves to one another and make the greatest impact on our children as we teach them God’s Word with our own flair. Let’s own our originality and lead the way God has shaped us to.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops. I’m not gonna lie, I struggle with long-term follow through. I can start things all day long, but it’s the daily grind that I tend to lose momentum with. But, I know that inspiring kids to follow the Lord’s teaching is a lifework. Instead of setting an expectation of “performance” for my kids (like telling them “you should read the Bible daily”), I should constantly nurture their love of the Word by continuing to develop a love the Bible in myself first. After all, we cannot teach what we do not know. Our children will struggle to grow if we’re not growing.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people. I love structure – and there is a place for it – but there is no room for legalism. The sooner I realize that His ways are higher than my ways, the better. I should focus on how to teach the little people in my home to be in a forever relationship with Jesus, instead of follow a checklist. People and relationships are messy and unpredictable, conflicting with the structure I desire. But, God cares most about people and their hearts!
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust. This tight-knuckle gal grabs ahold of anything she can control. But, I honestly believe my kids can sense when I’m trusting in the Lord or trying to control something on my own. Sounds crazy, right? I can’t explain it – I just know it. I HAVE to pray this daily, “Lord, I relinquish control of my children and their future. I trust that if I am obedient and faithful to you, you will raise up the Godly men and women you desire.”
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it. We could just accept that Christianity is on its way “out” of America. Or we could do something about it. A few minutes of intentionality each day can make an eternal difference in our homes and our world. How can we make a stand together? Let’s challenge status quo and make the choice to spend a few minutes each day to prioritize God’s Word in our children’s lives, and of course, our own.
Do you long to lead your children (or nieces/nephews/grandchildren/neighbors) to follow the Lord? What struggles do you have on this journey? Share in the comments below!
*photo by David D*