I got up this morning and went for a walk around the farm where we live. I was thinking about all the things that I have to be thankful for as I watched the morning light stream across the hills that surround our house. I had pushed through the typical Monday morning barrage of responsible thoughts and came to a place of rest surprisingly quickly. I found myself thanking God for all of these ridiculous blessings in my life. As I did I was reminded of a story about a father and his son.
One of the great pleasures of my life is sitting with the people that I coach and listening as they share their hearts and their experiences with me. I hear God in the midst of these conversations. A few months ago I was sitting with a client and he was sharing a story about his father. He told me how just before his wedding his father had approached him and given him some advice. His father was a faithful man. He had raised his children and handled his business responsibly. He was not saddled with debt and he was a position to transfer his assets to his children as he moved into retirement. He looked at his son who was preparing to move into the unchartered waters of marriage and this is what he said:
Son, before I got married I had a lot of fun. I joked a lot. I laughed. I knew how to have a good time. But when I got married. I got real serious. Things had more weight. Responsibilities. Heaviness. I wanted to proved that I was faithful. I want to encourage you son, don't do what I did. Don't get so serious. Have fun. Laugh with your wife. Don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. It is important to enjoy your wife and the blessings of your life. It is important for her that you don't become so serious.
As this client and friend shared this story with me tears filled my eyes. It stunned me. That is how you counsel your son who is about to marry the woman of his dreams. Perhaps it was so loud because of what he didn't say. He didn't say, "well son, you've had your fun, now it's time to buckle down and be responsible." He didn't confuse faithfulness with heaviness, worry, work, anxiety and stress. He rightly recognized the trap that was waiting for his son as he moved from being a single man to being a husband and father. "Be more serious. Worry more. Work harder." These voices are all around us. Worry masquerades as faithfulness all the time. It is important for us to realize that. Jesus saw worry for what it was and so did this father. He released wisdom to his son that day and it prepared him to be the husband, father, entrepreneur and leader that God desires. One who will actually do things differently.
I think that this story popped into my mind today because it was what God wanted to remind me of as I started my week. I had an incredible weekend. I photographed Friday night and most of the day Saturday. When evening arrived on Saturday at our house I was surrounded by my friends. We laughed together as we made dinner. We celebrated. I am turning 41 on Tuesday and these guys came to love on me. It was awesome. Then Sunday arrived. More awesomeness. A breakfast feast and morning with my family enjoying the warm weather outside. I spent the afternoon on an absolutely epic motorcycle ride through Chester county. Great times with my wife, my family and my friends in the midst of doing what I love to do. Great weekend.
Then Monday arrived with it's typical voices. "Time to get serious. Time to get to work. Or at least start worrying about something. C'mon. Be Faithful. If your not going to work from 7 to 5 today at least freak out about something to prove to the world that you care! You've had your fun son. Now it's time to get serious. Prove yourself."
As I walked and prayed I moved past those voices. It is so easy to think that they are actually God. Like that is what He thinks when he looks at our lives. I think that is why this story came to my mind after I moved past the Monday morning demons. Because that story is what God wants to say to us. It is wisdom. He doesn't want us to get more serious, more heavy or more anxious. He wants us to walk with him and be at rest and know that he is with us. He wants us to be able to experience the joy and blessing of the relationships that he has given us now. Worry steals that. It keeps us from living in the blessings that are already upon us.
So here's to having a great week. Receive the wisdom from the father in this story. Savor the blessings that are all around you and know that your Father takes great delight in watching you enjoy them. He is proud of you when you take time to do just that.