It was a hot June day where I watched the adults versus students soccer game commence on the steaming astroturf. My hubby had come out for the festivities, always willing to play a game of soccer and to join in on some school fun as well. It was the school's end of year celebration, and the soccer field was alive with sweaty kids and adults scrambling back and forth from one end of the field to the other.
Next to me, sat my son. He slouched slightly, huddled up next to me, silently watching the game in motion. My husband had called to him, wanting him to come play with/against him. But my son just shook his head, pressed into my side a little harder and just stared at the game. I could sense he was unhappy.
"Son, why don't you go play? Every one's out there running around. It looks like fun even if you don't get a chance to kick the ball. Just go run around with your friends."
He shook his head, fidgeting, not making eye contact.
"What's wrong? Why won't you go play? You love to run around, and look, your dad is out there and your friends. What's the problem?"
He turned his eyes to mine, meeting my gaze, and I could see the insecurity and (was that shame?) in his body language. "Mom," he said, raising his hands palms upward to either side of his body, shrugging his shoulders upward, "I just don't have what it takes." And he slumped back, eyes watching the game, defeated. And he'd never even set foot on the field.
My immediate reaction was righteous, holy anger. In that brief moment, I felt like maybe the way God felt calling for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, seeking them out to join Him. They hid, telling God they were naked and afraid to show themselves, and God's reply was, "Who told you you were naked?"(Genesis 3:11) That's what I felt. That moment I wanted to grab my son with both hands and shake him, saying, "Who told you that?! Who told you you didn't have what it takes?!?!?"
Certainly not me. Certainly not my husband. We have told our kids to work hard and reach for the best of who God made them to be since they were born. We have prayed this over them. This is not something he learned at home or through his environment or any other adult in his life of whom I am aware.
This was the voice of the devil. This was the voice of the DNA of his flesh. This was the voice of the world, satan's dominion. This was the voice of a lie. (Ephesians 6:12, Galatians, 5:17, 1 John 5:19, John 8:44)
My son is five years old and already being attacked by the voices I myself have only begun to identify in my thirties. The holy, indignant mama bear in me wanted to wring satan's neck and cause him slow, torturous, unbearable pain for even thinking about messing with my five-year-old boy's mind. But the reality and weight and truth of the moment set in.
My heart softened and hurt for my son. Satan wasn't here himself, whispering lies in the mind of my child. He can't be everywhere at once like God, and I'm pretty sure he's pulling the personal strings of some way more dangerous and influential people somewhere in the world right now. His demons have no reason to be concerned with my son at this point in his life. It was just the flesh my boy was born with, spiritual, genetically inherited, sinful DNA. My son didn't have to be taught how to believe lies, he just naturally, innately believed them. (Galatians 5:17)
He needed to be set free. The truth will always set you free, even if it's hard. (John 8:32)
I looked him in the eye. Firmly but lovingly said, "That is a lie from the devil. No one has ever told you that. You need to believe the truth. You need to believe what I say about who you are. You have exactly what it takes to get out there and play and enjoy and be successful. So get up. Get out there. I don't care if you never touch the ball. I don't care if all you do is run back and forth the rest of the game, not really knowing what you're doing. Just get out there. You don't have a choice. Now get up and go!"
Reluctantly, he obeyed.
And in reflection, I hear the voice of my heavenly Father, my holy Parent, giving me the same speech, imparting the same truth. He's trying so diligently to always be setting me free. (Galatians 5:1 John 8:36))
"You are not (____insert lie______). That is a lie from the devil. My Word has never told you that is who you are. You need to believe the truth. You need to believe what I AM says about who you are. You have exactly what it takes to get out there and live victoriously, play joyfully, enjoy deeply, and succeed abundantly. I made you! I should know! So get up. Get out there. I don't care if you never reach that impossible goal, attain that important platform, grab hold of that dream. I don't care if all you do is run back and forth in pursuit of Me the rest of your time here on earth, not really ever knowing what you are doing. Just get out there. You have made your choice to follow Me, and I'm not allowing you the choice to live enslaved to fear. Now get up and go!"
Powerful words from the most influential Person in my life. Powerful words to a five-year-old when I am one of the most influential people in his life right now.
And you know what? In the mass of adults and students running pell-mell around that field, people with way more experience at soccer than my son, he actually got to kick the ball! Twice! In the right direction! As a parent, I've never been more proud.
And I have to think my Heavenly Father just wants the same from me. My effort to give it a try, my willingness to participate and see what happens. A good attitude helps, but sometimes it's the result of taking that first step anyways. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can be a starting point, but sometimes you don't know what you're capable of until you try, and since no one really knows the limit to God's capabilities, you should assume no one knows the limit of His capabilities in and through you. (Job 11:7) There's no personality or spiritual gifts test that will perfectly package what my Uncontainable God can accomplish in the life of an open heart, soul, and mind of a child who is willing to fully trust and simply obey the words that flow from her Father's heart.
Just like my son, the whispered lies we believe imprison us to sit forever on the sidelines. The plain truth of our Heavenly Father, written clearly and completely, cover to cover in the Bible invites us to play and thrive! (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Just like my son, will you trust Jesus with your deepest hurts, the lies you're afraid to speak out loud? Because I promise, He will come to your rescue. (Isaiah 35:4) He's the only One in righteous anger capable of literally strangling the devil inside you. His words are full of grace and hope and an open invitation to be part of something bigger than yourself. (Ephesians 3:20)
Just like myself, as a parent or an influencer of a child in any respect, will you consider the responsibility, the weight your words carry in the life of a child? You may literally be the picture of God they hold in their mind's eye until they are old enough to learn how to forgive you for how imperfect you actually are. May your words reflect the heart of God into their little lives, and when they don't--because mine sure always don't--may your open confession to them turn their hearts toward the Lord in search of the one Person who will never let them down.
Just like myself, may you hear the heart of God echoed in the words you speak to others and may you experience the same boomerang effect of them coming back around to settle in the heart of your own life. (And let's be honest, that little speech I gave to my son above, that came straight from the Holy Spirit. I can take NO credit.)
Just like my son, may you hear the words of the Father and respond immediately and accordingly. Trust and obey. Get up, get out there, never stop chasing after the will of the Father. Pity parties on the side lines are the result of getting caught believing subtle lies. Being side-lined by the Father is a totally different feeling and blog for another day, but the big difference is those side-lined by the Father are sitting on the bench, anxiously waiting to get back in the game. My son was side-lined by fear and lies. BIG difference. Know thyself, but know thy God better.
Read Isaiah 42:1-9...
Life is an amazing journey that God created. Be on the journey with Him. Enjoy the journey with Him. Talk about all aspects of the journey with Him. Confession is how we give all the bad to God, so He can in turn bless us with encouragement and fellowship and all the good.
"Jesus is the answer for the world today/Above Him there's no other/Jesus is the way."