Let’s teach our kids to stay.
We used to read long books, we now read short online blurbs.
We used to open our emails, now we use “witty one-liners” to catch the reader’s attention. In hopes that they will read it.
It used to take days to fly across the world, it now takes a day.
We used to be on the missions field for 30 years, we now go for a week.
We used to live in one place for a long time, we now live in a transient culture.
We used to hold one job for 40 years, I know that I have had at least 10 different jobs. (I’m 28)
Inconvenient, uncomfortable, hard, harsh, not-fun, strange, messy, depressing, long, and suffering
We are teaching our kids that these things are wrong.
That if you don’t like it then change it, but what about staying?
As a kid, we moved A LOT. Whenever I tell someone that, they say, “that must’ve been so hard as a kid.” I nod quickly, brushing off the comment, I don’t feel like explaining this:
No, moving was easy.
Staying is not.
When you don’t LIKE an activity, staying is hard.
When you experience a cold Winter, staying is hard.
When your friends aren’t being kind, staying is hard.
When you fight with your husband again, staying is hard.
When you feel lonely in a community, staying is hard.
When mom-life isn’t living up to other people’s curated feeds, staying is hard.
When you get a bad review at work, staying is hard.
Staying can be SO hard some days.
Staying right where you are. Staying present. Staying friends and working things out. Staying present and not growing bitter. Staying through the fight and not running. It can be hard some days.
I’m tired of trying to get away from the mess, to escape it in my head. When I know the hardest thing to do right now is stay. I’m in the thick of it, and I know that staying is what is causing me to grow. I know it is what I want to teach my kids.
Here is what I want to teach them that will happen when they choose to stay:
You will be met with your true self (sinful nature and all) and you will have to deal with it. (I know! It is scary)
You will have to deal with other people’s true selves. It is how community is built. (Yes. Another scary thing)
You will feel uncomfortable, and stretched.
You might be unhappy. (Scary again!)
You might feel lonely.
You might feel like it is inconvenient or hard. (Yes! No fun!)
Sometimes, the very thing that is causing your spiritual growth is the very thing that you are trying to escape.
#lifeisbestinthemess where God does his sanctifying work. Deep in the trenches of life. Deep in the mess.
The next time you have a thought pop in your head that is about escape, drown it with this: life isn’t the moments of escape, it is the moments where you can experience the JOY’S of staying. It is through the joys of staying that you experience spiritual formation.
Spiritual formation is the process God uses for us to become more like him and many times that is staying.
Some of the JOYS of spiritual formation include:
getting to know HIM better
strengthening your Faith
long term relationships
building trust and community
learning more about yourself
experiencing sanctification through hardship
becoming less selfish and more selfless
learning more about yourself
and many more..