I started my spiritual journey to build a relationship with God when my wife was about to enter her second trimester. I had to. Nothing else was satisfying. I had a good job, a beautiful wife, house and the whole bid, even a baby on the way. From the outside, things looked put together, but I was falling apart on the inside.
Let me rephrase that: I can only look back and say that I was chosen. The looming pressure I put on myself in becoming a father, and years of self medicating found me full of fear and riding a rollercoaster of emotions.
People who had been there before me said I had a God-sized hole in me that only He could fill.
As I was making my way into a new life, a close friend that I looked up to said for me to picture God as how I would like to be seen by my son. My son was approaching a year at this time, so the answer was easy. I wanted him to see me as stable, loving, trusting and forgiving. I wanted my son to see me as someone who cared and supported, yet wasn’t a softy or push-over.
This friend of mine, a spiritual guide if you will, opened my mind to this idea. I was able to relate. Of course I didn’t want my son to see me as a scared recluse whose primary emotion hinged on anger. I knew how I wanted to be seen, and therefore I could relate this same vision to God. He is stable, loving, trusting and forgiving. He cares and is definitely not a pushover.
I also think of this as I am asking God to work through me when I am with my kids. How do I want them to see God? There is only way I can consistently set aside anger, jealousy and fear. I must ask for Him to remove these defects of character.
Like when I am running late and I just can’t get my pre-schooler to budge off the front steps. Anger starts to boil inside of me. “I can pick you up and put you in the car,” is what I start to think. But then as I begin to act on this, I’m suddenly reminded to respect him. I sit down with him. I try to teach that being a little late isn’t the end of the world–although punctuality is something I strive for–I would rather focus on the how I get out the door rather than the when.
I would rather go out the door together as father and son, rather than enemies. I would rather pretend to sword fight with sticks on the way to the car, rather than fight with each other.