One of the most mind-bending things we learn as a young child is about our planet and how it orbits around the Sun. Can you remember, as a kid, trying to understand the massive concept that without the Sun to orbit around, our planet would fly out of position and life on it would end?
Your soul is like our planet. Just as our planet constantly orbits around the Sun, our soul was created to orbit around God. Apart from God, we do not know who we are, where we belong, why were are here, or what our purpose is.
Tragically, because we are sinners, we forget, ignore, or leave the God around whom we were created to orbit. When this happens, we pick someone or something other than God to function as the center of our life. This is what the Bible means when it denounces idolatry, which is something replacing God’s position in our lives.
Whatever we choose to orbit around – ourselves, our children, or God – has huge implications in our relationships with our children.
- If we make ourselves the center of our universe, we then demand that everyone and everything orbit around us, including God. This means that even our children are to treat us like they are supposed to treat God, which is to make their whole life about us, our convenience, and how we appear to others. When this happens, both the child and parent are miserable, and their relationship is unhealthy.
- If we make our child the center of our universe, we put them in the place that only God should occupy. They become the motivation for our life, the center of our life, and the source of our joy and identity. We worship them by sacrificing our money, energy, time, and best years of our life for them. If they disappoint us, fail us, or grow up and move out, we are then destroyed because our “god” failed us. When this kind of parent-child relationship happens, everyone loses.
- If we and our children orbit around God, everyone learns to find their identity, security, and purpose in relationship with God. They trust God to save them, love them, and guide them. The parent and child love one another without having to be God for one another.
An example of a God-centered parent-child relationship is set by Jesus’ own mother Mary. Though she was only a teenager when told she would have the most important motherly role in history, she immediately responded in worship, declaring that her life and family would orbit around God. In Luke 1:46, she sings a soulful song that begins, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” Mary knew that the first step in parenting is to get our soul orbiting around God so that we can then help our child do the same.
Honestly speaking, who or what is the soul of your life and home around which you and your family orbit? Is it work, mom, dad, appearances to others, or something else? Or, is it truly God alone?