by John Daley
It seems like it’s always in the moments that we need to talk to the Lord the most that we don’t really want to.
It feels easier to have a pity party. It feels easier to try to figure it out on our own. It feels easier to turn on the television and check-out for a few hours.
Cognitively, I know that in His presence there is always fullness of joy. I know that He has the answers that I need. But, in the hard moments, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or fed-up, it almost always feels much harder to ask my soul to step to the side and let my spirit connect to His spirit.
Sometimes I manage to do it and sometimes I don’t.
Today I did. I told the Lord how I felt and He told me what He felt. My wife told me that she wanted to share it, so I said ok. (That’s usually how it goes.)
As men, we generally want tangible, practical, straight-forward advice. We want to find someone older than us who possesses a Manual To Life that they can, in turn, pass on to us. Most of us long for the simplicity of a Guide that gives us play-by-play instructions on marriage, fathering, business, relationships.
I still feel that way, most of the time.
We all know that what I'm about to say is true, but my encouragement to you today is that it really is true: God has the Manual. He is the Guide.
Every time that I do the hard thing and talk to Him, He knows exactly what I need to hear. What I need to know. What I need to see.
My hope is that, in sharing this exchange between myself and the Lord, some of you guys will make space and have that conversation with the Lord that you know you’ve been needing to have.
When I wrote what’s below I was frustrated. I was feeling the weight of life and my smallness in it. So that’s exactly what came out.
I’m known for my brevity. You’re welcome.
We spend our 30’s just trying to get through the day.
Pressures at home, pressures at work, our kids, our finances, our relationship with our spouse…the burden of wanting to be someone, to get somewhere, the feeling that it’s just attainable, that we can do it, but it’s just beyond our grasp.
We believe that if we were a better version of ourselves we would have been there by now.
Gotten that promotion or developed our business. Been that husband that your wife couldn’t wait to see again at the end of the day. Been that dad who never got so frustrated at the kids that he just wanted to knock some sense into them…or at least banish them (or himself) from the room.
(So I wrote that and then I began to write some more and it wasn't until I started crying that I knew that the Lord had started speaking what He had to say, what He needed me to know.)
This is what He said,
Your 30’s alternately suck or provide you with special moments you will never again experience in your life: the feel of a newborns fingers around yours, that year when you finally reached that financial goal you’ve been working toward your entire adult life. Those breakthroughs with your wife where everything changes (that ‘everything’ being mostly you,) and you get a glimpse of what real intimacy looks like. Watching your sons grow and start to look like little men. Cuddling your daughters up in your lap, giving them tickles and listening to them squeal.
But there are also the demons of your past.
Consequences you still pay for because of the decisions you made when you were younger. Naive, foolish, immature.
You are caught between two worlds; the future and the past.
But the past is still present. The future just beginning. It is the intersection of your pain and tears, your dreams and desires. The Legacy begins now, but you cannot see it. Heck, you’re still trying to get through the day without messing something up. Without failing at something that could have lasting effects on your kids or wife or financial future. And now that you have that certain level of maturity, you know how far reaching those effects can be.
But I see you. I hear you. I know your heart. Your weakness and shortcomings don’t scare Me.
Because I see where you are going. I see how you have changed. I know you have set your eyes on the things of God because you want freedom!
I can handle your messes and mistakes.
I am the only One you cannot estrange in your struggle towards the goal. You can never hurt me so badly that I will not be there for you in an instant. So lean in to Me. It is the only safe place where you will be fully known, understood, and loved. Because I have already borne the pain, and stand in Victory, Forevermore.