Have you ever used your influence in a relationship to give “wise” counsel? Have you ever used your influence in a relationship to insure that “wise” counsel led someone down the path you wanted them to take? I’m positive as a parent we have all done this at one point or another and never really thought twice. We know what’s best for our children after all right?
Three years ago I was faced with one of these opportunities and was failing miserably without even realizing it at the time. Beginning in November of Riley’s senior year of high school we began hosting MLB scouts in our home. The thought of my 18 year son being drafted and sent off to minor league ball terrified me. I had already had to adjust to him leaving town but thinking of him going into minor league ball far away from me where I would not have the opportunity to mentor him through the process terrified me. As a family we determined a dollar amount that we felt was reasonable and decided that was bottom dollar but as the draft closed in Riley seemed to be wavering on that amount and debating whether a lower amount would be satisfactory. Since I knew what was best, I was spending my time reinforcing over and over why signing wasn’t for him. I used lots of little tactics and was really making myself a little sick over it all.
Then when I least expected it, I walked into church one morning and was hit with a knife in my heart. Our associate pastor was preaching on manipulation…no big deal I am not into manipulation. Oh my goodness was I in for a huge surprise. After pointing out all the normal straightforward ways people manipulate others, he dove right into pointing out all those subtle ways we manipulate. You see, I was using my influence as a parent to decide what was best without ever taking into consideration what God’s plan for Riley might have been. I cried through the entire service as I knew I had only been thinking about myself and not Riley at all. The last thing I wanted was for my baby to leave because I felt sure he wasn’t ready. What I failed to consider is that when it is part of God’s plan He will insure those following His path have the tools they need to succeed.
I texted our pastor after the service through tears to tell him I felt God had spoken to me directly through him that morning. I expressed all my fears and he gave me the best advice. He told me to pray that God would put people in Riley’s path who were honest and true and could lead him along the way.
Riley for sure thought I had lost my mind as I immediately went straight for him upon returning home and through tears…sobs really…I expressed to him how wrong I had been to try and manipulate his decision. I told him I trusted him to make the right choice.
I felt immediate relief in that moment. Instead of continuing to take things into my own hands I did the only thing I knew how to do and that was pray. God as always knew exactly what he was doing and it is so clear now that the path Riley is currently on is the one meant for him.
It’s so hard for me sometimes to let go and trust God’s plan. I can look back on my life and see how things worked out the way they were meant to be even when there were hard times. Looking forward I often find myself caught in the trap of trying to “play god”; manipulating instead of mentoring. It’s in these times when I most certainly feel so conflicted and anxious and sometimes even angry when someone isn’t following my suggested path. It is only when I wise up and turn my eyes to God and begin praying for that person, praying for God to give me the ability to offer wise counsel that is totally unbiased or better yet praying I can accept His plan over my own that I begin to feel content.
I’m so grateful God has blessed me with these four precious babies and so thankful for the grace He provides when I fail so miserably.