Ok, so here’s the thing, kids generally don’t come with filters. Filtering is something that you gradually learn (or Should learn) as you get older. Some of us are better at it than others but for the most part, as adults we usually put our thoughts through a filtration system and ask ourselves, “Should I say this? Is this appropriate? What will people think of me?” etc., before opening our mouths…
…my kids haven’t fully accepted this concept quite yet. Mind you, they’re only 13 and 14 (and a half…that half counts you know?) years old but for the most part they still pretty much say about 75% of what comes into their head. Not really sure where they picked that up from (*ahem*) but we’re working on it. I’m hoping by the time they’ve reached “adulthood” that they’ve picked up a little wisdom here and there and realize that not all thoughts or feelings are meant to be said aloud. Some are meant to be kept between us and God, in the deep recesses of our minds, never to be repeated for others to hear. And then other times…they completely shock and surprise us and say something absolutely profound and perhaps even convicting that you wonder how you ever produced such a wise ol’ sage. Such was the case for me recently.
My eldest son, Aiden, is 14 (and a half) years old and I would say that out of my two sons he is probably the most outspoken. Ethan (my 13 year old) is very outspoken around the house and around people he’s comfortable with but apart from that he’s the “quiet” one of the two. When we’re in public Ethan kinda gets that you behave a “certain way” and that there are certain social expectations and courtesies that we adhere to. Aiden on the other hand, for the most part understands this, but there are days when he just doesn’t care. If he’s in a bad mood, you’ll know it and he won’t have a problem that you know it. If he doesn’t want to do something, he’ll give me a bit more of a hard time to obey than Ethan will.
Both of my children are also very confident, and if I’m completely honest, sometimes with Aiden specifically, it borders on cocky or arrogance. (Something he would also have no problem letting you know as well.) While I absolutely love that he’s very confident and doesn’t need anyone to tell him how amazing he is, we’ve had discussions about the difference between confidence and being cocky. I’ve had to tell him to tone it down just a notch on quite a few occasions. He just laughs. And I just think to myself, and also laugh, knowing that almost always, life has a way of smoothing out those edges the older we get so I think he’s gonna be just fine. While I am very thankful that I have two headstrong, confident children, it definitely makes certain days more of a challenge.
However challenging raising headstrong children can be, there are definitely moments where, in their natural tendencies to be “themselves” they can be quite profound…often without even thinking about or knowing it.
Last night, as I was tucking my boys into bed (yes I still tuck my teenage sons in for the night. I’m trying to hold on to their childhood just a wee bit longer) and having conversations with them while doing so, I was talking to Aiden about a project he was doing. He, along with his brother, is a Lance Corporal in the local Army Cadets. They’re both doing really well and I’m so proud of them. Aiden has been asked to teach a class to his cadet peers as part of his training. He needs to teach this class successfully in order to pass and go to the next level. I asked him if he felt he was ready and would pass. He simply answered nonchalantly, “I feel confident in my ability not to fail.”
I smiled and said, “That’s good to hear” but I couldn’t get what he said out of my head. I kept thinking about that sentence over and over again. What a statement! I started to laugh a little bit under my breath because to me, that statement didn’t sound like it came from a 14 year old boy. It sounded like something Winston Churchill or Martin Luther would’ve said many, many years ago. More of a statement of faith than anything. And I believed him.
Think about those words again.
“I am confident in my ability not to fail.”
It reminds me of something else I’ve heard before…
“I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”~Philippians 1:6
Sounds rather similar. Just as Aiden is confident in his abilities to successfully finish the job he has been given, so we, as Christians are equally, and even more so, confident in the fact that whatever Jesus has started in us HE will successfully finish it!
Sometimes this can be easier to read than to actually believe at times. This world is full of such brokenness that it’s hard to believe it when people say they’re going to finish what they start. It’s a rare quality these days. I know it’s very difficult for me personally to believe someone’s words, especially when their actions don’t line up with what they’ve said. I’d rather they just not say anything at all. I’d rather them not even go there or start anything. It’s easier to believe that people will just give up and walk away or change their mind rather than seeing something all the way through to completion. It saves me the trouble of having to be let down all over again so I just tend to not believe someones words until I see it in action. The “proof is in the pudding” as they say.
This should make us even MORE thankful that Jesus is “…not a man that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”~Numbers 23:19
If he says something, you can count on it! He doesn’t know how to fail! It’s not even in His character! Regardless of what is going on around us, we can be confident in HIS ability not to fail! Those gifts and dreams and desires that HE has placed on the inside of you are there for a reason. And so long as they line up with what HE wants for your life and you let him have control (another word for his “loving guidance and protection”) then it will come to pass! Those seeds that have been planted on the inside of you for so many years that you’ve felt have died or have laid dormant are merely taking the time to become firmly planted and rooted so they can grow up strong and not be shaken! And yes, sometimes, like myself, we’ve chosen to take the long way around because of choices made, selfishness, rebellion, disobedience etc. But he also restores and renews and can get us back on the path towards what he had planned for us all along. (Might just have a few more scars/beauty marks to show for it.)
Regardless of what life looks like at the moment, have the confidence in HIS ability, NOT your own, to finish what he started in you! Submit to what he wants you to do and let him lead you. Let him open doors and even close doors, knowing that even a “no” from him has HIS goodness written all over it! Watch Him work like only He can. Then, you too can say, “I am confident!”