Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Kids first? I don't think so...

If my world (and by that I mean my thoughts, my identity, my actions, and the way I spend my time) revolve around my kids, it tells them that the world revolves around them. Besides that, it puts unrealistic pressure on them - if my world revolves around them then my sense of success and fulfillment revolves around their character development, their decisions, and how they choose to behave and spend their time. That's more pressure than any child should have.

Security comes (in part) from knowing that the people who raised you support you, support your choices, and moreover, are secure in their own identity. Parents place undue pressure on their kids when they depend on their kids for their meaning in life, sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Prioritizing in the art of making primary what should be primary, and allowing other things to fall rightly into place behind that. For me, what's primary is God. He created me, rescued me from self-destruction and sin, and regardless of what rotten thoughts I have, or how depraved I am, He still loves me according to his abundant grace. He is the only one who will never disappoint me, and will always love me with no reservations. Next is my husband. And I know that seems awfully counter-cultural and scandalous to put him before my kids, but I truly think that's the way it should be. He was my family before my kids ever were, and he is essential to my kids' emotional and developmental well-being. And that places my kids third in line. That doesn't mean I love them any less, it just means that my choices in life need to be prioritized correctly and I can never put my kids before my relationship with my husband.

Finally, coming in behind my family is my career, or future career, or extra-familial impact on the world around me, in whatever form that may be. And that career or whatever it is and becomes, should serve those things that stand higher on my list of priorities. That means, it should somehow serve the Kingdom of God and tangibly exhibit God's love for the world. It should also allow ample space for my family to grow and thrive.

As I think about the many forms that may take, and the life goals I have for myself, what I keep coming back to is rehabilitation for victims of the sex trade in Eastern Europe, and assisting in the effort to stop that trade. Unfortunately, I don't see how my current set of skills and expertise fit into that. So there lies the quandary. All the sincerity and good intentions in the world won't make a bit of difference.

I do want to be able to look back at my life when I'm 95 (optimistic, I know, but Eugene will outlive me), and see that I truly made a difference in the world. Of course I'll make a difference in my children's lives, and that alone is sufficient, but how else can I leave my footprint on the world? I'd like to look back and see that I affected long term change. I'd also like to know that God used me to do His will, and that other people's lives and eternal lives were impacted. We'll see how that plays out. But in the meantime, I still have to figure out what to do with today.

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