New Year Slides
Which one should I go on dad? My oldest daughter, Emma asked me as all four of my kids began to scurry around the massive playground. Amber and I had taken the kids when they were younger to a popular playground on a warm summer afternoon. It’s one of those days your mind bookmarks in a “favorite file.” I remember great detail and specifically recall Emma’s fear of climbing to the top of a huge slide. Along with our other 3 kids she jumped, climbed and swung on most the equipment. Yet she avoided the central piece to the entire playground. A slide that to some kids seemed gigantic. A winding staircase made its way to the top and gave an ominous feel.
She is my cautious kid. No peer pressure from her siblings would force her onto that staircase. Where Garrett my adopted son took the steps in 2’s as he raced to the top and may have even went down the huge slide backwards?
The kids ran all over the playground that day. Some choosing swings over monkey bars. They played tag with other kids and as the time went by I caught Emma eyeing that big slide more than once. She would peer over at me with a look of wonder and fear. Wanting my permission to be afraid yet my encouragement to push on. I would simply smile and point at the slide. I knew what she wanted, her daddy standing beside her. So, I stood up from the park bench and walked with her to the slide. A couple deep breaths and a simple declaration “I can do it dad,” Emma climbed those huge steps, and I waited for her at the bottom. I will never forget the look on her face when she looked back at the slide after accomplishing a squeal filled decent. A look of pride, accomplishment and trust. She trusted me and from that she knew she could do more than she thought she could.
Last weekend, I started my own journey to the top of a slide. The Met Church (where I currently serve on staff) elders informed our congregation that my family and I would step out and plant a new church. For years I have eyed a staircase of faith I knew someday I would climb. For 2 ½ years at the Met, God has grown my faith and understanding of His incredible nature. God has proven Himself trustworthy and using others to uphold His church even in difficult circumstances.
Before coming to the Met I often struggled with a belief that God walked behind me waiting to discipline me for choosing a wrong direction. Fearful, I would chose a wrong path or miss God’s instructions on which decision to make. A constant insecurity that I was letting him down caused me to view God as a heavenly father that waivered in His approval of me. My walk with God was about figuring out some hidden riddle that determined God’s will for my life.
Nothing has been more damaging or deterring in my spiritual growth. The Holy Spirit has gently walked me through letting go of that broken belief system. In His loving kindness the Lord gave me this picture of the playground. The playground is like his will. He is pleased with me and is ok with me playing on any piece of equipment I want. Of course there are rules for my safety, but I have freedom. He is proud of me and wants me to pursue a life in His playground with confidence and security. Remembering that HE is the One who rescued me from death and destruction out of grace simply because He loved me.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 ESV
As the new year begins I want to thank my entire church family at the Met for allowing God to use you to teach me more about Himself. Your support and desire to pursue Jesus’ methods of making disciples is inspiring. I encourage each of you to look at that huge slide in your life and climb it! Know that God stands with you and is fully pleased. Whether you chose the slide or the swings, he cares for you. He wants you to trust him and as your faith grows so will your obedience. Know that God is incredibly pleased with you.