In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trying to process an uncomfortable situation

I had an uncomfortable experience with my youngest son Daniel last night. 

We'd met for dinner after work and then were going to go back to his house so I could see his new home (he's renting a place with 3 other graduate students & one of those student's wife).  Before we got in our cars, he seemed awkward, and when he spoke to me his voice was a bit shaky.  It felt like he was saying something he needed to say, but was anxious and uncomfortable about it.  It seemed like he felt he needed to do it. I could tell he'd thought about what he said a lot.

He told me that he does not want to have me try to give him advice regarding work-life balance, universalism, or who is in the body of Christ.

I was surprised because I thought I'd gone out of my way to make sure that I don't push my beliefs off on him. As I thought about it I rememberd one recent situation. I had told him that I believed he acted very pushy and wrong toward a friend of his who was Catholic.  I let him know that I didn't think it was a good thing that he kept showing his friend "what the Bible says" about things that were different than what the Catholic church teaches.  His friend was agreeing with Daniel but it was causing his friend problems with his parents.  This particular friend was the kind of person who would be swayed drastically by the fact that Daniel believed something. I'd shared with Daniel that the stream of Christianity is wide and there is latitude in what people think.  Of course we all see it the way we do, but at the end of the day, it's all about God and His greatness.  We can count on His grace where we missed it.

Of course I will seek to be careful and not talk about these things in any way. I respect Daniel greatly and never want to act in any way that makes him feel disrespected.

Yet, I find myself concerned for Daniel. 

During the past few months I've noticed that he's becoming what I would call a rigid fundamentalist.  This makes me sad because one of the biggest gifts I've always felt that Daniel gives to those around him is that they can  just be who they are when they are with him.  He's had friends of all ages, intellectual abilities (from genius friends to mentally challenged), sexual persuasion,  cultures, and walks of life.  My experience in life is that rigid fundamentalists often leave the rest of us feeling not good enough when around them.  I also feel like they often miss out on the joy and grace that is so abundant in life.  I don't want Daniel to end up like that missionary who asked Jayne to marry him in the book Jane Eyre.

I've also noticed over the last year that Daniel is extremely intense regarding his beliefs about helping our fellow Christians who are in need and being persecuted.  It is to the point where he doesn't seem to feel that just relaxing, having fun, or spending money on yourself is ever OK. I've tried to encourage him that our God created beauty and joy for us to experience.  That pleasure is a good thing, it just can't be the focus of our lives.

I know he's young and at that stage of figuring out what life is all about for himself.  I pray that he gain a balance.  I pray that I don't cross what he believes are his boundaries in these areas.

I am grateful that I have a 23-year old son who is so passionate about the Lord.  I'm grateful that he works so hard and has now been given grants so he can pursue his PhD in chemical engineering and environmental science. I admire the way he lives frugally so he can give to others.

But like all mothers, I want the best for him.

So I pray.

I also ask God to help me be sensitive to his feelings and to not cross any lines.


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