A few nights ago I was helping my son with his math homework. It had a lot of fractions and word problems and he was really struggling with it. The frustration was building and it was beginning to boil over into tears, anger and expressions of “I’ll never get this -maybe I’m just dumb!” and “It’s not fair – why is my teacher being so mean?”. As we worked through it I could hear underneath all of that a message of “maybe I’m just not good enough” and a sense of remorse for not being able to get past the emotions and just focus on the task. I’ve been on this planet long enough to know that this is nothing unusual – I can recall having many similar episodes when I was in school as a boy, particularly with algebra or chemistry homework.
I was mulling all this over as I drifted off to sleep, stewing over trying to figure out a way to communicate to my son that he’s absolutely “enough”. That he’s unconditionally loved, regardless of his abilities. That we are here for him through all of these struggles and to have faith that what’s on the other side of the struggle is worth the effort. That he’s not alone in this experience – we’ve all shared it and we’ve all had the moments where we needed to lean heavily on someone else for help. That he’s not a burden. That our sole purpose of seeing him through the tough times is coming from a heart-felt desire for him to have a more fruitful, enjoyable life when he’s older.
As I was lying in bed I found myself asking God those questions. How do I share to my son that he is loved, supported and valued at every moment of his life and that my only desire is for him is joy?
And as I was about to fall asleep, I was suddenly aware that God was likely thinking that He’d been trying to tell me that very same message for my entire life.
I thought “wow, that would be awesome to be so certain of all that”!
Can you imagine how liberating and invigorating it would be to be absolutely certain that:
You are loved, unconditionally.
You are enough.
You are not alone and there’s a whole community that’s shared the same struggles.
Joy and happiness are worth the challenges.
I think it’s true.