Seasons. With each new season comes new opportunities, new tasks and new challenges. The change of seasons can be exciting; filled with anticipation and hope for what’s to come. But the change of seasons can also bring feelings of anxiety as we await the unknown of what’s ahead. As one year winds down a new year waits in the shadows, what is your hope for 2019?
As our kids get older, the pressure to succeed gets stronger. Their definition of success changes over the years, gradually shifting from pleasing us-- their parents-- to pleasing their professors and peers. Kids and teens carry the constant burden of seeking the approval of their friends, teammates and authority figures, while still trying to figure out who they are as individuals. Striking this balance can be difficult and exhausting, sometimes resulting in rebellion, resentfulness or an overall apathy towards people and things outside their own interests.
Winning the favor of others is important, yes-- but it is not what matters most. We know from experience that attempting to make everyone happy is a “chasing after the wind”-type endeavor that will ultimately leave us empty. How can we as parents alleviate our children of the heavy weight of people-pleasing?
We believe the key question we must encourage our kids to ask is this: “Who has the power to define you?” Is it us, their siblings, teachers, coaches or friends? While their approval may be wanted, it is not needed. Take the opportunity to explain to your child why no earthly person can define your worth or identity; God alone has the power to place value on His children.
An artist has exclusive rights to his masterpiece; only he or she can fully and accurately convey its meaning. In the same way, our Creator is the only One who can define us, His creation. Psalm 139:1-3 tells us this,
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.”
We encourage you to read through Psalm 139 with your family, walking them through how and why the Lord is the only One who can define us. The assurance that God’s love and approval is unconditional relieves us of the burden of seeking the approval of those around us. When His love is all that matters, we are free to be ourselves and walk in confidence!