21 Sep 2019

The Future Is Here

It is, because it first exists in our minds and hearts.

Yes, the future is here, lurking between the spaces of want-dream-pain avoidance-ambition-expectations ----- and it is propelling you.

Jesus told us plainly, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt 6)

How many years have I known these words from the Gospel? Several decades. But it's a living, present word because -

what we treasure changes with time
often what we treasure is a reflection more of a pain we want to avoid than a dream we dare to own
God wants to be our always-treasure

When I was a teen, I had visions of success (have I shared the story about the sports car, the light rain and the handsome dude?)...which shifted with the years. As a leader and pastor, I had ideas of what should be valued, fought for, stressed out about. As a parent, how my children turn out is a huge chunky preoccupation!

I also learnt that sometimes I treasure something (way too much) because somewhere along the way, it became a part of who I am (the cool lady pastor perhaps? not really, but it nearly did). Certainly, there was a time God has to awakened me to how I idolised a 'perfect' marriage, simply because I was in pain that my parents did not have that.

So now that my children are growing way too fast, with one at (gasp!) marriageable age even -- I realised that I have so far prayed vague, right-sounding prayers for their future. You know the stuff of 'I surrender them to You', 'You have a future' type thing, only occasionally daring to foray into what their future may actually be about.

Just exactly ten minutes ago, the Holy Spirit whumped me on the head and I went 'oof!'. A clarity I am not capable of flashed before the screen of my mind and a truth surfaced: the future is hazy (this word always shows up in my post when the haze is around, hmm).

So try a simple exercise with me. Visualise the future, where your kids are adults:

What are they pursuing?
What are their priorities?
How will they relate to you?
What role will you play?

Wow. I have to admit that I am not fully ready for these questions.

There is a part of me that wants them to have commercial success (money is so useful)... I consider the young adults I know who have such success and must admit I see this: working long hours, escaping on vacations, developing costly hobbies, obsessing over online shopping, Netflix...

Well, ok, my children probably won't be like this. Of course they will be serving in church, possibly in leadership... but then I hit a ...haze.

It's not like I need to know, and God forbid that I try to control anything.

But I feel the Holy Spirit is inviting me to have a conversation about this.

It's an important conversation because I need to examine my treasure.
It's an important conversation because there are things I can put in place to support the unfolding.
It's an important conversation because God wants me to anticipate and grow my trust.
It's an important conversation because I need to shield their destiny with prayer.

I am quite certain the conversation and prayer will not end up with me being able to visualise the details. But it will do these three things:

keep my heart tender to what God wants (faith)
help me be positive to developments I witness in them (hope), and
be a constructive and empowering presence in their lives (love).

The Bible says these things last - treasures indeed. (1 Corinthians 13)

What about you?
What conversation are you having with God over the children He has called you to steward?

Here are some related reads:
Helping our children 'beat' the competition
3 Anchors for your child's bright future
Raising children who Contribute
Are we Future Ready?
Maid In Singapore Kids