When the Ancient Paths Seem So Lame

Eko-Stoplight-by-Damjan-Stankovic-1

The light turned yellow, then red, and I slowed to a stop. I hung my arm out the window and glanced at a park near the intersection. There, a disheveled mom was chasing a three-foot live wire with a bowl cut. I watched until the car behind me honked.

As I pulled off the line, it hit me: That’s me. My kids are teenagers, but they haven’t stopped running. And I’m still huffing and puffing behind them.

The teenage years seem to cause parents to either chase harder or quit running altogether.

I’m a chaser, through and through. 

I like kids. I really do. My whole career centers around them. But I love teenagers. They energize me, make me think, and crack me up. They remind me of a treasured time of my own life and make me want to be young, cool, and popular again.

I find myself trying to keep up with their pop culture, their fashion trends, and their social media. I clamor to stay current with their lingo, their apps, and their music. I push myself into their circles and hop on their band wagons. And the less they seem to need me, the faster I run.

running

I want to make sure they’re safe, I said. But after years of no one getting hurt, my motive changed, and my fear turned inward. Fear of becoming out-of-date and irrelevant. Terrified of being left behind and lame.

My kids keep me young, I explain. But youth can’t be my goal. Shouldn’t I be giving them an appetite for time-tested truth more than both of us begging for scraps of what’s new and cool?

“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.”- Proverbs 19:18

I’ve noticed that it does my kids so much good to be at their grandparents’ houses. Where the wifi is slow and experience is in the driver’s seat. Where they walk at a wise pace and circle-back to well-worn ways. Where they feel immensely loved, yet know without a doubt who’s the boss.

I’ve also noticed I’m not the only one chasing. Everywhere I turn, I see parent chasing child. Fear chasing Frenzy. 

Yes, we should relationally pursue our children, just as God pursues us. But we’ve been lured by a world that spins fast, and we’re failing to show our kids a different gear. One that’s fast enough for them to run ahead safely, but slow enough to provide rest, growth, and discipline.

But when the rubber meets the road, our desires to be fun and hip overtake our desire for what’s good. We find ourselves wanting to be young more than we want them to have wisdom. We subtly clamor for their approval more than we point them to God.

When will they learn their humble place in this world if we keep them at the center of ours?

How will they learn to listen if we let them do all the talking?

Who will teach them patience if we allow them to set the pace?

Lord, have mercy.

The ancient paths are dusty, rocky, and rutted. They don’t promise entertainment or fun, but they’ll forever offer the right way and a walk with the Author of rest.

ancient path

“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls. ” Jeremiah 6:16

Our kids just might turn around if we’re humble enough to lag behind. And when they do, may they see us beckoning to the ancient paths…

Where young live-wires become grounded in ruts that are deep and true.

Where Wisdom controls the pace, and being cool takes a back seat to godliness.

Where the Ancient of Days grows us up and changes our fear to freedom.

van

Do you hear that honking? The light’s green. Have courage.

“Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.” Psalm 25:4

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15 thoughts on “When the Ancient Paths Seem So Lame

  1. Mary Geisen July 21, 2015 / 4:30 am

    Love these words! My sons are now past their teenage years and are in their twenties but I understand the chasing. Its as if we do not really want them to grow up. I appreciate reading your words of us taking a step back and slowing down to show our kids the path to what is true. I also think that when we move ourselves out of the way we allow God to become the focus and that is where they will find what they need to continue moving forward. As I find myself still chasing, you have now given me permission to move over. Thank you. So glad to be your neighbor at Holly’s today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown July 21, 2015 / 6:01 am

      Mary- Yes- “move ourselves out of the way” if the key phrase of parenting. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  2. Michele Morin July 21, 2015 / 5:46 am

    With three teens still a home, I’m walking (limping sometimes!) right beside you. Just this morning, my husband and I were praying for the strength to live authentic lives so that we will have the moral authority to speak truth into the lives of our boys. We do need His help to walk those ancient paths, and I’m finding it today in your words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown July 21, 2015 / 6:02 am

      Yes- I’m finding I can’t walk those ancient paths without His help. Thanks for your encouragement today. Bless you and your teens!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. christy mobley July 21, 2015 / 5:58 am

    Oh mercy Karen, I remember the days. I think back and say to myself, why did I worry so much.So much wasted time over this or that. But, we live in the moment with the knowledge and wisdom we have at the time. By the grace of God our kids turn out ok. I believe the scripture when it says train up a child ….and they won’t depart from it, meaning they come back to it. They come back to what they’ve been taught…after they’ve driven you crazy with worry of course!
    Blessings to you this day,
    Christy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown July 21, 2015 / 6:03 am

      Yes- by the Grace of God, we’ll make it! Thanks for stopping by, Christy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Christan Perona July 21, 2015 / 6:20 am

    This is excellent, Karen. It’s all about striking that balance, isn’t it? I’m amazed at how so many of Satan’s attempts to distract us involve fear, frenzy, and an inward self-focus. Thank you, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown July 21, 2015 / 7:48 am

      Christan- Yes- so much about striking that balance when Satan wants to pull us to extremes. Thanks so much for your consistent encouragement. I treasure it. 🙂 lv u

      Like

  5. Jeanne Takenaka July 21, 2015 / 9:59 am

    Karen, you have such profound thoughts! I loved this post. As the mother of one ‘tween and one almost teen, I can see the drive to keep up with what’s current with teens. I also get that whole being driven by fear thing. It’s so important to test what motivates us in our mothering, especially when it comes to our teens. God’s giving me opportunities to trust Him with them. As one went to a week-long Boy Scout camp in a different state, I had to trust, even when he got hurt. Thanks for the reminder that it’s okay, even good, to lag behind, to teach our kids to listen and to trust the Lord. Thank you for this!

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  6. Tiffany Parry July 21, 2015 / 10:20 am

    Such great wisdom and council here, Karen. I remember being a young mom and wanting to just hold my son close and soak in every moment. A wise woman said to me “how will he ever depend on God if he only depends on you?” Now at 12, he’s convinced he knows it all – but the fact that part of what he knows is how much God loves him and has His hand on his life, blessed this mama’s heart. Thanks for your encouragement to keeps chasing after God and him.

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  7. Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God July 21, 2015 / 3:19 pm

    Karen,
    I am struck by the scripture from Proverbs and my heart laments that maybe I didn’t discipline enough. My son, though raised in the church and with God’s word, is a lost prodigal right now and I too often blame myself. So true that what our teens need is not the “hip”ness of the world, but the wisdom of the Ancient of Days. Profound post…wish I had been able to read it some years ago…please pray for my son…thanks.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    Like

  8. Kristin Hill Taylor July 22, 2015 / 10:40 am

    I really love this. I love reading words from moms who are ahead of me on the journey. You’ve got me excited to chase my kids right into their teenage years, even though we still have awhile. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gingerloowho July 22, 2015 / 11:18 am

    I can so relate to these beautifully written words. As they get older, I have to remind myself to be intentional about continuing to bring meaningful conversations of faith. Maybe I should text them instead. They are hardly ever home anymore:) Always a pleasure to link with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. sandraj2015 July 22, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    I am blessed today by your rich post! I am drawn to thinking about ‘our ways’ vs ‘God’s ways’ and love the verse you shared: “..ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls. ” Jeremiah 6:16

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jennifer M. Frisbie July 22, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    This post really spoke to me, Karen. I loved your question here: “When will they learn their humble place in this world if we keep them at the center of ours?” – my husband and I have been making strides to shave off a bit of that sense of entitlement and we’ve begun right here. Making sure they know the center of our lives is God, then each other…and then them. And as they grow, I know I must intentionally bring God into that conversation more and more to suit their ages. I pray I can be the parent to them that you are to yours when mine are teenagers. (just a year and a half more for the oldest!)

    Liked by 1 person

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