Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Vision

Tomorrow, my wife and I are going in for the ultrasound that will tell us if we're having a boy or a girl. It's an exciting moment for both of us. Our ongoing debate will finally be resolved (I'm rooting for a daughter).

We already have names picked out for both a boy and a girl, so after the ultrasound, Little One will actually have a name. No longer will we have to refer to him/her as "it" or "the baby." Suddenly, this whole fatherhood thing is going to become a lot more personal. A lot more real.

With each passing day, I grow more aware of our need for a family vision. Where am I leading my family? How will I teach them? What will be our role in the world? What were we created for? And all the while I wonder, how will having children impact my life? As important as it is for me to prepare for the task of training up our children, I would be a fool to think that there is not much for me to learn from them.

I have in my purple book a piece of paper where I keep track of the things God has taught me. It's starting to get a little messy with all the different pieces in it (sometimes these lessons come in structured chunks; other times they're just little nuggets along the way). Actually, I have two of these papers--the first one has already gotten away from me (it also contains a series of life verses and songs).

I tried coming up with a complete family mission statement once, but my attention to detail and obsessive need to organize got in the way. It never really came into being. I tried to compartmentalize our lives into five nice little categories so that I could deal with each one individually. I made a good start on it, but the task became too overwhelming to do all at once. Knowing myself, it probably would have ended up too restrictive as well.

Lately, I've been thinking about the way we've been trained to think goal-oriented. When we think of purpose, we often think in terms of the goals we were created to complete. I've started to question that. Now, don't get me wrong, there is certainly a place for goal setting. But, can our purpose really be defined by a set of tasks to check off?

Or what about defining purpose by profession? I'm a meteorologist and a writer--is fulfilling those roles what gives meaning to my life? Maybe. Maybe not. I tend to think that it may be a part of it, but we are much more than what we do.

One thing I believe is that when we think about purpose and meaning, we underestimate the importance of relationships. We've been given access to all sorts of raw materials, beautiful talents and skills, and a lifetime full of opportunities--but none of it really means anything without someone to share it with. Yet, in thinking about our mission, it's easy to relegate that sharing, those relationships, to the sidelines.

I really don't have it all figured out. Life is pretty complex and resists all attempts at definition. Life is also a journey full of beauty and danger. We will fall from time to time. But, we will also grow. Growing takes time. So, while I may not know it all now, I'll keep walking forward step by step, sharing in this awesome adventure with my family. Who knows what God holds in the future?

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