I stand again at the fork in the road. One leads within and one without.

 

The outer pathway leads to the familiar – I’ve trod this pathway many times before. 

 

It’s easy to navigate, with plenty of pit stops. All signs say it was built with me in mind. I love it’s promise of liberty.

 

I can do what I want, when I want – and be comfortable to boot. I dawdle here, stopping to pick up bits of satisfaction all along the way. 

 

Yet, each time I satisfy one passion, another screams for attention. One desire spawns another until I’m not sure what I really want anymore. I eat, or sleep, or shop or surf – all to escape the cacophony.  But the gnawing seems only to grow. The more I get, the more I want. My needs remain unmet and yet, I anxiously crave for more.

 

Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:15-16)

 

And then I remember the fork.

 

This inner pathway leads only to the unseen

 

When I walk this path, I realize that I’m not the main figure here, but He is. It is not my will, my desire, my wants – but His that is being manifested along this road. I am not central.

 

The longer I walk here, the more distant the view of the outer road becomes. When I keep looking ahead, I see more of His Kingdom, both beyond and before, while noticing less and less the mess that is “me”. 

 

Along the inner path, I am not alone with my fear. Because He is with me, I shall not want. The cessation of desire is the true pathway of joy and peace. In giving Him my desires, they gradually decline over time. I find myself with the desires of my heart because that desire is Singular.

 

So today, again, I choose the unseen way. Even as I begin, I am timid, because it is indeed the road less traveled. I cling to the promise of His Presence and ask that He guide my weak and feeble steps.

 

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17-18).

 

Which way will you choose? 

 

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As a parent, you long for the days that are calm without the challenge. Now that I am out of the daily grind of parenting, I can reflect more clearly on truths that I wish I had better practiced

 

1.  My goal should have been to train them to be heaven-focused, not self-focused. My goal was not to keep the peace.

 

Out of weariness and lack of real understanding, I often gave in to my daughters’ selfish whining. If I had taken note that fulfilling their pleasure was actually the source of more conflict, you can be assured that I would have thought through my responses a bit better.

 

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” (James 4:1)

 

2. My goal should have been to keep looking at things above, not to make their childhood better than mine.

 

Granted we are to “do to others what you would have them do to you”. Yet, sometimes, this really isn’t our motive. Instead, we do for our children as we wished it had been done for us. Such motive is self-centered and not helpful for you or the child. The better way is to practically teach them how to keep redirecting their thoughts to things which are true, honorable, right, pure and lovely.

 

3. My goal should have been to help them spend wisely, not merely spend upon themselves. 

 

If an allowance is solely for the purpose of giving a child spending money for themselves, then we haven’t taught any spiritual principles. Helping a child understand to save a portion for tithe, gifts, and a “rainy day” are far more strategic. Allowing it to be only for their own whims only reinforces a selfish motive to “spend it on their own pleasures.”

 

Time is also of essence here. Using your own free time wisely gives you the authority to speak into the way they use theirs. If you feel that your children are wasting their time, you might look into the way you use yours before you address their problem. 

 

Can you restrict their internet time in a clear conscience if you don’t moderate your own?

 

Do you model surfing the web or watching movies instead of teaching them how to interact with others?

 

Do they see you setting aside time for His word? 

 

 

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves…You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to.” (James 4:1-3 The Message)

 

Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? (James 4:4 NASB)

 

So then, how do you teach your children to be a friend of God, instead of the world?

 

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