Obsessive? Maybe…

First of read this before reading the rest:  http://www.revkevindeyoung.com/2009/04/our-high-places-3.html


I got a comment on the last post that it might be a little “obsessive”.  Perhaps I should first clarify some things.  First I’m not against “family time” and I know that even in the midst of a busy church schedule some things conflict and it’s OK that family takes priority.  Also I wasn’t despairing of the church as a whole but mainly families with adult children. (Hence the stunting maturity part)  I find it interesting that in the four years I’ve been apart of Sovereign Grace Church Pasadena getting “singles” to commit to regular church life has been mind bogglingly difficult.  That’s not to say they don’t serve, many serve heroically, but it’s the mundane meetings and caregroups that participation always seems optional.  Even more perplexing is that these are young adults from “pillar of the church” families.   You would think they’d be the first ones to show up to such meetings.  I’ve begun to wonder if their might be a connection to this fact and the counsel I had to give some younger adult friends concerning dealing with their parents as adults.  I think there is a connection given that as a church we’re in a “generational transition” period.  Many young people and families are making the transition into adulthood for the first time.  So let me attempt the daunting task of not only expanding my last post, connect the lack of participation and parenting issues, and challenge parents of adult and soon to be adult children as well.  (What?  You a SINGLE guy would challenge older parents?  Well yeah, I’ve made this transition with my parents and I’ve been apart of a church (SGC Chesapeake) that went through a generational transition.  I, my parents, and they were just as “family centric”, home schooling, “courtship culture crazed” as SGC Pasadena if not more so.)

Let me start out by saying that I know from first hand that the transition into adulthood is painful for parents, even more than for their children coming into adulthood.  I think a part of the problem is that parents are just now becoming aware of how difficult and painful it really is for them.  Learning to treat the baby you held in your arms more like a friend, and brother or sister in the Lord is HARD.  Letting the toddler you demanded instant obedience from make their own decisions is DIFFICULT.  Letting go and trusting God to care for the one you love so much is PAINFUL. (Especially for Moms, some of you are tearing up just reading that.)  But let me challenge you, this is exactly what God is calling you to do.  And here is the challenge I would lay before you parents- are you grudgingly accepting your son or daughter’s call to a personal identity apart from you, or are you pressing them into it?  Are you acquiescing to your child’s adulthood, or are you challenging them to it? 

Adulthood means an identity irrespective of family.  We’ve gotten into the habit of seeing “independence” as a bad thing.  But the call to adulthood IS a call to independence from family and dependence on God.  And I’m sorry, marriage is secondary.  In our “family centric” “courtship crazed” culture we’ve tied “adulthood” too much to marriage.  That tying alone has made a bunch of immature, irresponsible, uncommitted twenty something “adults” that treat the church and their relationships no different than when they were in junior high.  Instead of challenging a generation to mature adulthood we’re coddling them to marriage.

Here’s the thing about adulthood that’s dangerous.  Adults HAVE to be able to make a choice personally, on their own authority, and suffer or appreciate the consequences of that choice on their own.  If an adult never makes a choice personally, they never will make that choice personally.  Parents are you aware of this?  Are you looking to press your sons and daughters into personal decisions?  Are you aware that your role now is to offer direction not to command?  And if you are directing what are the “non-negotiable” priorities you are directing them to?  Let me apply this to “family time”.  If  family is the “non-negotiable” in your direction of your young adult son or daughter, if you demand that this is the one area of their life that they have no choice, isn’t ultimately the “non-negotiable” in their life you?  If you are the one thing they cannot disregard what have you become, God perhaps?  Even family time needs to become an invitation not a requirement, because your young adult son or daughter needs to be able to, under Gods authority and direction, prioritize their life according to HIS direction.  And if they are not allowed to see the personal benefit of that personal choice, what’s to really ensure that they will ever make that decision for themselves in the future?

Parents please know my heart is for you, not condemning you.  I’ll reiterate this is HARD.  This takes FAITH, tears, prayer, trust that God will prove Himself and that the labor you’ve invested for so many years will not return void.  But let me plead with you, “clinging” isn’t “understandable” it is idolatry.  It is putting yourself in the place of God with your adult son of daughter, and it is elevating your relationship with them above your relationship with God.  Sadly, it’s only going to get worse.  Please for your own growth, begin to die to yourself and don’t think that when your son or daughter says “I do” your heart will magically be changed.  For the health of your future relationship with your son or daughter, the health of their souls in reliance on God not you, and the health of the church, LET GO.

All that said, again I’m not against “family time”. (Please invite me, I’d love to fellowship.)  But let me end with two questions:  Are you excited for, and preparing yourself and your adult son or daughter for a time when they are NOT looking back at you across the dinner table?  If not, why is that?



2 Responses to “Obsessive? Maybe…”

  1. jaymallow Says:

    Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

  2. jaymallow Says:

    Here’s something to consider in observation: Why is it that those that don’t have “families” seem eager if not hungry to show up to the “mundane meetings”?

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