Empathy in Parenting

This was a great podcast by Mark Labberton, Kara Powell, and Steve Argue (all from Fuller Seminary). Their research has shown the different landscape that our kids are growing up in: economic challenges, social media, technology, vocational pressures. One reminder I needed to hear was how difficult it is to parent. It takes much more effort than I’m willing to put in sometimes.

Click here for the podcast.

Season 1, Episode 2: Fearful Questions and Deep Longings

What if we are asking the wrong questions that are based on worry and fear?  We feel threatened, powerless, or in some form of danger.  Our imagination is seeking questions to make sense of what is happening.  Some questions are helpful to name what is happening.  Others are intrusive, beguiling, or depressing.

Fearful Questions and Deep Longings

“Which questions guide our lives?”

For some, much of what may drive their lives are “what if” questions.  Not deliberately thinking about the questions.  Just letting the questions guide them.

“What if my coworkers don’t like me”
“What if I’m not good enough”
“What if something happens to my kids”
“What if I don’t make my numbers this month”

“What if I don’t save enough money for retirement”
“What if I’m not raising my kids well”
“What if my spouse cheats on me”
“What if my boss fires me”

What if we are asking the wrong questions that are based on worry and fear?  We feel threatened, powerless, or in some form of danger.  Our imagination is seeking questions to make sense of what is happening.  Some questions are helpful to name what is happening.  Others are intrusive, beguiling, or depressing.

Fear is an optic of danger, threat, or a loss of power.  Moved by fear, we become survivalists and sometimes do things we really didn’t want to do.

Are these questions raising important issues?  Of course.  They make up the material of our lives.  But are they really helping us to live well and good?

Which questions guide our lives into courage and enduring power?

And when we have questions, how does God respond?  “Do not be afraid…I’m with you”

There is a question that Jesus asks in the Gospels.  “What do you want me to do for you?”  Another variation is “What do you want?”

When I move past the worry/fear questions (I picture these questions as the stuff on top of a river, floating there) and “go deep”, the question of want and desire are the ones I’m really seeking.

“How can I be a good coworker?”
“I want to be a good person in this world.  How do I go about doing that?”
“I want to be a loving parent.  How will I do that today?”
“I want to be a faithful partner and create a loving relationship.  What must I do?”

Flip the script on the worry/fear questions and think about your deepest longings which God is inviting you into.