Why Parenting Must be the Toughest Job in the World
This post was originally written June 22nd, 2016 and forgotten until today. Whoops.
Last Sunday, I sat on a huge pile of rocks as my parents prayed for me over the phone. They prayed that I would not be comfortable where I am, EVER - and that things would remain tough and that through this all I would learn.
They prayed that I would NOT be comfortable? Ever? Sounds harsh.
Here's the thing, it wasn't harsh, and they don't hate me - I asked them to pray that for me.
One of my biggest fears in life is getting comfortable with comfort. Sounds a bit ridiculous, yes?
It's true! I don't like the idea of having a ton of things around me that create a cushion of comfort that creates an ease and laziness in me. Comfort can be a lot of things for me. It can be being fine with where I am at in life, so I don't keep pushing and aiming for better or, sometimes, it's having a specific routine where nothing goes "wrong" and my time is scheduled by the minute and I have control over everything. It's being comfortable in a relationship with someone where I stop asking them hard questions or calling them out when they need be or the opposite way; where I am so comfortable with a person, that I just assume they know what is in my head, so I don't tell them specifics about what is REALLY going on. Comfort is relying on "stuff" to make me feel better instead of running to God first with my fears, problems and issues of the day.
In the city of Seattle (and, really, ANY city or place where humans live), comfort is a big idol. It's easy to find comfort in things like a smart phone, in food, in staying with your original friend group, in going to the same place every time, in not confronting friends cause it could be awkward
If you are uncomfortable, what do you do?
You move out of the too hot sun or you move away from that weird smell. You fidget and you squirm. You adjust to fix! You fix it yourself or try another option to make something work, or, you ask for help.
What I want in life is to never stop striving for more.
My God is continuously sanctifying me and I want to utilize every gift, talent and capability that I have been blessed with to strive for excellence in all that I have been gifted with. I know myself and if I feel too comfortable in one spot, I won't want to move out of it. I often have to kill my comfort.
I still desire comfort. That want doesn't magically go away, and I know comfort isn't all evil. I'm working on being hyper aware of it and knowing when it does become an idol for me and I start sliding into patterns of easiness over hard work. That's when it's time for me to tighten up and pray that I would kill that idol.
Back to parenting being tough: Your kids will eventually become adults. They might move 2,000 miles away from you and then admittedly cry over the phone and tell you that they want you to pray that they won't be comfortable and your parenting part of your heart will die inside as you think:
"No, stupid. I don't want to pray that you will be uncomfortable. I want you to not ever have to cry again, I want to hold you close by so nothing happens to you and I want to see your happy face every day because I love you so much."
I mean, I kinda thought maybe my parents would say something along those lines.... but they didn't. They got what I was asking and they went for it. And gosh, I actually appreciated that more than coddling.
My parents don't hate me. They want the best for me! And sometimes, the best for me means that I have to strive and work to the best of my availability, which can mean giving up my idolized comforts to light a fire under my butt.
To every parent out there: thanks for being a parent and loving your kids well, even if that means having to pray out loud that they would not be comfortable in life.
Dang. I don't envy you guys.
Parenting must be the toughest job in the world.