There are few things more frightening than freedom to a parent of a teenager. The fear does not come because we do not trust; rather it is a reflection of our own view of ourselves at a younger age. We rememberor do we?
Things would be a lot easier if Carli kept repetitively making decisions that broke our trust. Carli is fully a teenager and yet fully our daughter. She craves and needs freedom to grow and become herself; she also needs me to tuck her in bed, pray over her, and give her comfort when things are terrible. I have the joys and fears of every parent at this age.
As a younger sister, Whitney is extremely observant. She notes the success and failure, moments of breaking away, and bits of self-discovery. She watches, learns, and sets her own course. Everyone fears for her path! Her mother, father, and sister all harbor their fears, uncertainties, and doubts. Her sister is probably the quickest to express a view, take a position, or exercise authority. With this attention, Whitney fights even harder to be who she is and wants to become.
We are each children of God. We are family, regardless of our feelings about the subject! We are passing though life at different speeds and places but our challenges, issues, and opportunities are, at the core, the same. We all crave freedom. We want freedom to achieve all that we believe we can. We desire freedom to live life how we believe is best. We want freedom to be fully what we want to be.
Letting you go to be fully free is a difficult thing. As your sibling I desperately want to express a view, take a position, and exercise some wisdom authority. I may think I know best, but I am merely a fellow traveler.
“If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.” (Romans 14.4)
God loves you. God will always give you freedom. If you are willing, God will teach as well.
26 September 2000
I work hard at giving people who work for and with me as much freedom as they want. I am not a fan of the approach that suggests I should determine the boundaries; rather each individual is responsible for knowing their limitations. This approach is much easier to talk, think, and ponder about than actually put in practice.
Freedom brings responsibility. However, who holds one honest? Parents rarely allow themselves to be accountable to their children. Friends avoid holding their friends accountable unless they are personally hurt. Even when I know the person desperately needs the feedback, starting the conversation is never easy.
I have a few of these pending as I write. People I care about, though I am not sure they are aware of my sense of responsibility nor would they automatically care about it anyways. These individuals are people who have potential beyond what they are demonstrating. They have the ability to achieve, move ahead, and get on with life. They have freedom and choice, yet they are failing and are at risk.
You and I have total freedom with God. We can do whatever whenever we want. Ironically, this knowledge often leads me to believe what I do is totally up to me. It is as if nobody else cares or is interested. I am out on my own with little to guide me except what I learned as a child. I think and act as if nothing has happened in my life since I was six. I am very wrong. Things have gone on, things happen, God is working in your life and mine!
God gives us gifts of grace each day of our lives. We choose to accept or reject, learn or ignore what is going on around us. We do so out our own risk. We alone determine our life choices and future.
“Each person is free to follow the convictions on conscience.” (Romans 14.5) The question is; do I want God to give me the feedback that will allow me to realize everything I desire here and now?