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Identity and purpose in parenting – part 1


One of the greatest things about parenting is that it is a fantastic equalizer. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. Your race and gender- rendered obsolete. The number of degrees you have on your wall makes no difference. Parenting is quite possibly one of the most challenging roles any of us will take on. Parenting is a fraternity entered by many, yet mastered by very few. We all enter in, without that coveted “manual” and one of the best kept secrets to those outside (make sure this stays between us!) is that none of us know for sure that we are doing the exact right thing. We all need a clear purpose in parenting.

It can feel like one giant experiment where the variables change daily and are totally based on the circumstances presented in that given moment.

It is safe to say that many times, this is exactly how we   feel.Like a bow that is shooting arrows without any aim- wherever they land is where they land and we often feel helpless as to where or how to direct them. After all, every arrow comes with varying personalities, challenges, and talents which means it takes a different set of skills to aim each of them in the appropriate direction. Psalm 127:4 says “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”

As parents, we are warriors, fighting for our children’s hearts and minds. Rest assured there is a definite enemy who is fighting for the same territory. There are two sure things that can aim the arrows in your quiver with solid direction and design.

These two things are identity and purpose.

Let’s start by breaking down a huge misconception about these two hallmarks of raising children.

We often believe that it is our responsibility to gift these things to our children.

Let me be clear- you cannot give your child identity or purpose. I will say it again- you cannot give your child identity or purpose. So, if this is true, why are we even wasting space talking about them? These two attributes are God-given only. Ephesians 2:8 and 10 say “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God…For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

When we choose Christ, we are given a new identity. According to Ephesians 4:24, we display a “new nature” because we are a “new person, created in God’s likeness- righteous, holy, and true.” We can refer to the Fruits of the Spirit to have more of a visual of what this looks like in everyday- peanut butter and jelly– life.

Fruit of the Spirit is a fancy church phrase that we use often, but we don’t always stop to think about what it means exactly. Fruits of the Spirit are the attributes we see in people who recognize that Christ’s life is also their own life. In other words, the way that Christ was during his time on earth, is also the way they are during their time on earth. To list them out, so we are all on the same page, the fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

These are the things that help others recognize Christ followers and these things all come from God alone. They are His original ideas.

Our job as parents is not to give our children an identity.

That’s already been done.

Our job is to communicate that identity to them.  We pick up there next time!