We’ve all watched and read the news over the past three months since COVID became a thing in our culture. And it has indeed changed so many things.
How we go about our daily routines is different. How we interact with each other is different. It’s all sort of depressing really.
But it doesn’t have to be.
The past three months I’ve tried to be more intentional with my time. Not because I’m dying or anything – at least I hope not – I still have a lot of things I wanna do before I get to meet Jesus face to face.
Like I still would love to sky dive. I’d love to do that…that is if my wife will let me!
No, I’ve been more intentional with how I’m investing my time. Many know my thoughts on time. How we invest it is super important. Once time is spent we can’t get it back.
Now I’m not all off the deep end here. I’m still all for fun. I still love to play video games and watch a movie I’ve seen a hundred times before.
I’m just thinking more intentionally with time.
Like taking my youngest daughter Ellynn to the woods. She loves frogs. She loves nature. She loves toads. She loves tadpoles.
I think she might grow up to be an amphibious scientist if that’s even a thing.
So we’ve spent hours out in the local parks exploring. We’ve found no great discovery.
But I’ve discovered something amazing. More on that later…
My middle daughter Madylynn isn’t much of the woods type. She’d rather do something together like playing a game, talking, or exploring questions she has about life and God. She’s a reader and a writer.
She gets that honest.
She’d rather swim laps with me at the Y or help me with a project at the church or at home. She loves to work together to solve problems.
So I’ve done more of those things with her.
Again I’ve discovered something amazing. Stay with me. I’ll get to what this is!
My oldest daughter Jalynn is definitely a musician. She loves music. She loves to talk about it. Playing it. Listening to it.
Now I don’t know all that much about music. But I love her passion for it. And I can sit and listen to her talk about it. So I have. Her clarinet even has a name.
She also loves video games. I don’t think it matters the game as much that she has someone to play with. So I’ve played more video games with her. We’ve done Minecraft and Breath of the Wild on the Switch. We’ve Mario Kart’ed and beat each other up in Smash Brothers.
But we’ve also talked. Like Madylynn, she has questions and seeks answers. And so I’ve listened and responded when needed. But kept quiet also. We’ve sat on the back deck. We’ve sat on the couch and at the dinner table.
And like with her sisters, I’ve discovered something amazing. Are you curious? Great! We are almost there!
Lastly, but the best of all, is my time with my wife. One of her love languages is time – just spending time with her. So I’ve tried to do that. We’ve watched movies, played Uno (her favorite game) sat on the deck, had conversations around the dinner table. We made her Mother’s Day dinner and birthday dinner. She’s sort of a gamer and she loves to play Mario. So I’ve watched her play Mario. I get more enjoyment out of just watching her have fun than I would playing the game myself.
Yea it’s not the most romantic. And it’s certainly not taking her out on dinner dates. But I’ve tried to be intentional. And I’m not perfect. I’ve missed a time or two. But I’m still determined to remain intentional.
Ok, you’ve waited long enough…Onward to my discovery!
It was not so much with my wife. But I couldn’t leave her out of the post. She is a really important part of my having daughters!
And she is the woman that said yes to me almost 21 years ago…Even though I’m sure there are days she wonders why.
What I want to focus on are my daughters. In all this time. In all these activities and conversations, the one amazing thing I’ve discovered is this.
That my daughters don’t have to try harder to be my daughters. They just are.
They don’t have to try harder to be my daughters any more than I have to try harder to be their dad. They just are and I just am. It’s who they are.
You must find that amazing, right? No? Well try this…
If you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then you are a son or daughter of God. You don’t have to try harder.
You just are.
Any better? Thought so.
It is one of life’s most peace-filled realizations. I don’t have to try harder to be a child of God. I just am. There’s no earning it. No working harder to get it. He just loves me. And that’s enough.
Something needs clarified here. The word is responsibility.
Don’t run away! Stay with me. You’re doing great!
My daughters don’t have to try harder to be my daughters. And I don’t have to try harder to be their dad.
But we both have a responsibility to be intentional with our relationship.
Ah, there it is!
Our relationship hinges on our responsibility to invest intentionally with each other.
We have to spend time with each other, talking, laughing, having fun, and yes crying.
We’ve done all of that during COVID.
The result? Deeper more meaningful relationships.
I didn’t try harder to be a dad. And they didn’t try harder to be daughters. But we all did better at intentionally building upon that foundation of the father/daughter relationship.
Let’s take it to God.
I can’t make myself more of a child of God than someone else. But I can do better at intentionally building upon the foundation that’s already there.
In other words, if I want a deeper more meaningful relationship with God, then I have to intentionally invest time into that relationship.
James, the brother of Jesus, tells us that if we want God to be closer to us, that we need to move closer to God.
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:8
It’s not that God requires this. It’s not a rule. It’s that God knows that for us to experience that level of intimacy, that kind of relationship, it happens because we want it. It happens because we intentionally invest in it.
And the benefits are ridiculous! Peace. Love. Hope. Even in the midst of a pandemic. Even in the midst of a divorce. Even in the midst of a death. Even in the midst of cancer. Even in the midst of joblessness. We have ridiculous peace, love, and hope.
Those benefits remain. And you don’t have to try harder to be a child of God. You just invest intentionally. You move yourself closer to God.
We do this through time. Time in prayer. Time in Scripture. Time just sitting still and doing nothing but waiting for Him.
Moving closer to God doesn’t make me more of a son. It makes me go deeper with him. Our relationship grows. I see Him more around me. I feel him more closer to me. And I respond to him more intentionally.
And that’s my responsibility.
That’s your responsibility.
I don’t know where you are at in your relationship with God or that you even have one. What I do know is this – a single step in His direction changes everything.
I am living proof of that.
It’s one small step at a time in His direction. It’s never one giant leap that gets us there. It’s all the small incremental intentional steps that add up to an ongoing deepening relationship with God.
And I have some small incremental steps to take right now. Like walking from my garage where I’ve finished this post to my house where I can invest time intentionally with my daughters and my wife.
Today – take one small step toward God. It will change everything. But you’ve got to invest time intentionally!