I said it in a recent post, but I feel that it’s worth mentioning again, parenting is HARD. I mean, these babies are born literally dependent on us for everything. I remember when they told my husband and me that it was time to take Hunter home from the hospital. We were both thinking, “Are you sure? Yall know that we don’t know what we’re doing, right?” But, yet, they sent us home anyway, and here we are (almost) 4 years later, and we still don’t really know what we’re doing (parenting secret: no one really does).
I sometimes look at my kids, and think about everything that they don’t know and everything that they can’t do, and I become completely overwhelmed. This checklist begins scrolling through my mind of the things that I need to teach them. They need to know their ABCs, their manners, how to tell their left foot from their right… etc, etc, etc. Maybe you’ve felt the same way.
But then there’s the bigger stuff too. Like, if I make X decision with my kid, is it going to ruin them for the rest of their life? Will my child be prepared for kindergarten… and beyond? What about sports? Should our boys participate? But even bigger than all of this, there’s the spiritual stuff. Not only do our children come to us completely dependent on us for everything physically, but they’re also born sinners with absolutely zero knowledge of the Gospel. And the Lord entrusts these sweet, tiny newborns to us with the huge responsibility of sharing Him with them.
But friends, the beautiful thing is, the Lord doesn’t entrust these sweet babies to us and then leave us hanging. In fact, that worried, overwhelmed feeling that comes on us isn’t from Him at all. Worry isn’t in God’s perfect plan for us; there’s numerous Scripture that points to that. What is in God’s perfect plan for us is to “seek first the Kingdom”. Every time I look at my boys and that “Are we doing the right thing?” or overwhelmed feeling comes over me, the Lord stops me in my tracks and speaks that “Seek first the Kingdom” phrase over me.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (ESV). This Scripture comes after Jesus has spent some time telling us not to worry, not to be anxious (Matthew 6:25-34; I’ve done 2 posts on that. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here). I love how Jesus tells us NOT to do something, and then gives us a positive command to follow instead. Jesus tells us that instead of worrying or being anxious about anything- our children, our careers, our to-do list- we are to seek first His kingdom.
This phrase, this command, has given me such peace as a parent, and in life in general. My job with the boys is to seek first the Kingdom, and as I do that, to teach them to do the same. Seeking first the Kingdom brings freedom. Because in seeking first the Kingdom, we’re no longer relying on ourselves; we’re relying on the Spirit and letting Him do the leading. This takes the pressure off of us to be the perfect parent or to make the right decision. In seeking first the Kingdom, we’re trusting our Savior who is sovereign, we’re asking Him to give us an eternal perspective on our children, on our lives. We’re trading in the worries and the pressures of this world to trust our good and faithful Father.
So, should you sign your child up for sports? When is the right time to teach them their ABCs? Seek first the Kingdom. The end of that verse promises us that “all these things will be added to you.” It doesn’t promise a perfect life or perfect children, but it does promise that the Lord will care for us and be sovereign over us. As we follow this “seek first the Kingdom” command, we’ll be reminded that our children aren’t really ours; they’ve just been entrusted to us for this time. We’ll be given an eternal perspective, reminding us that our child deciding that his short sleeve shirt will keep him warm in 40 degree weather will not matter in 5 years. We’ll be reminded to lay aside some of our earthly parenting goals, to go after the only goal that really matters- to raise children who are seeking first the Kingdom as well.
And to my friends who aren’t parents, this Scripture of course applies to you as well. Because really, friends, seeking first the Kingdom should be done in all parts of all of our lives. We should see first the Kingdom as we go to work each day. We should seek first the Kingdom as we walk the halls of our schools. We should see first the Kingdom as we go to the grocery store, meet a friend for coffee, or complete our to-do list. Seeking first the Kingdom should be the lens that we live our lives through, and as we do, I believe that we won’t find perfect lives, but we will find something even better- a life rooted in Christ, in His peace, and His joy. And the world will take notice because that’s so different than the life that they lead. When we seek first the Kingdom, Jesus will be glorified, and prayerfully, we can lead others in how to see first the Kingdom as well.
So, friends, whatever life has for you today- whether you’re making a big life choice, trying to get all of your to-dos done, or enjoying a family day- see first the Kingdom.