They're Watching Us
Let me set the scene for you. It’s a Sunday morning and so we are in church. For the first time in maybe five years (probably more like eight) I sit next to my husband. It’s a wide known fact that if you are in ministry you pass by your spouse on a Sunday morning you don’t sit with them. We are preparing to launch, but have yet to launch our new church community so on this Sunday morning we actually sit next to each other. If that’s not a miracle I don’t know what is.
It’s worship time. Two rows in front of us sit the elementary aged kids. They are trying really hard to pay attention but in between moments of concentration they poke and prod and generally do what kids do in these types of situations. I’m singing and trying to be all holy and stuff when I feel a pull on my shirt. My husband silently draws my attention to the row of kiddos. I expect to find our oldest two acting out, but what I see instead is Micah. He’s the son of our dear friends who also happen to be the pastors of the church we have joined in worship that morning. He’s got his one hand outstretched towards God, eyes closed, and he’s singing his little heart out. The words come out louder than anyone around him and he’s a bit off key which makes it all the more endearing. The look on his face is priceless, it’s strained and contorted in heartfelt concentration. Precious beyond words.
My eyes well up with tears. I’m managing to hold it together until Michael motions forward to the front row, alerting my attention to Micah’s Dad.
I spot the similarities right away. His arm extends heavenward reaching out to God, eyes closed, singing his man-sized heart out. I can’t vouch for whether or not it was on key, but what I do know is that same passion that rises from Dad replicates and rises from the son.
Three words come to my mind;
They are watching us.
Our kids see everything we do. Every motion, every movement, every victory, and every failure. We think they aren’t paying attention. Immersed in their own heads, imaging themselves as the next pro-basketball player or princess or whatever. But they see it all.
And what they see in us they pattern their lives around.
It’s altogether horrifying, isn’t it? Like that moment we let the “s” bomb drop in the car or let anger get the better of us in line at the grocery store. They look at us with eyes wide open and a mind jotting notes that no white out or erasers can take back.
Nothing like putting the pressure on, right?
But there’s a silver lining. I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel guilty at times for the lack of direct instruction in my home. Yes we talk about God, occupational hazard. But we don’t sit down every morning, gathered around the breakfast table, steam rising off the freshly cooked eggs and bacon, Bible open, reading our daily devotion and preparing our children for their days with a “Word from the Lord.” I pray in the morning. But it sounds like, “Lord, let me not lose my ever loving mind when I have to ask my children for the one hundredth time to put their shoes on. Amen.”
So one part of me is terrified by the fact that they are watching me ALL THE TIME. The other part of me is relieved.
Maybe I don’t have to have hold a strict and regimented schedule filled to the brim with daily devotionals, prayer time, scripture memorization, Jesus crafts, and Veggie Tale videos. I’m not discing those things. They are all wonderful. And if you do all of that on a daily basis, my hat is off to you. I, on the other hand, can’t even find time to bathe myself everyday. Don’t be too alarmed, for the sake of mass humanity I try to make personal cleanliness a priority which means I don’t always get to everything else.
So they’re watching me. Which might actually mean if I worry about my own spiritual journey I’m actually tending to theirs as well.
Maybe if they see me pray in moments of distress, or bring soup to a sick friend, or turn to God for help when I’m scared and unsure, they’ll watch and do those things too. And maybe if I apologize to them when I lose my cool in those hurried and harried before school mornings they’ll learn the value of a timely, “I’m sorry.” Maybe if I’m real and honest and authentic. If I don’t try to hide my flaws from them but willingly invite them into my crazy. If they see me seek to become the best version of myself without devaluing the person I am right now. Maybe, just maybe, with God’s help, they’ll turn out okay.
Perhaps it’s okay to do the best I can, and let Him fill in all the missing gaps.
They are watching us.
And there’s a change that could actually be good news.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Romans 12:1