The Best Possible Outcome

The Best Possible Outcome

“But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking…” Mt. 20:22

My children abandoned the great game of baseball to play soccer. In my mind, it was a disgrace to our family and a national embarrassment. I reminded them of this great tragedy often. Eventually, I decided to suck it up and support my children. I had to try and accept their happiness was not mine to decide. 

The way I chose to support their decision was to yell words of “encouragement” during each game. These words provided positive reinforcement for good plays. They also included necessary critical analysis on what my child could have done better after a failed play. In my head, the most effective time to offer this assistance was during live action. Do not judge me, I am not alone in this approach.

The youth soccer association tried to silence parents with candy suckers, but none of us could get the hint. Finally, my children talked to me after a game. “Dad, you can quite yelling. One, we can’t hear anything you say. Two, even if we could hear you, you don’t know anything you’re talking about.” True. Their success was not mine to decide. The conversation freed me.

My best parenting moments happened when I did not try to determine outcomes for my children, but allowed them to decide it. Then, whether positive or negative, loved them all the same. My most embarrassing moments happened when I tried to influence an outcome, even when I did not know what I was asking. Then determined their success based on what I thought the outcome should have been.

The mother of the sons of Zebedee shows us helicopter parents are not a new phenomena. She is desiring her own sons suffering and doesn’t even know it. It reminded me how we, parent or not, do not always know what we are asking and how often our interference does not help.

Perhaps the best influence we can offer is prayer. The kind of prayer which does not have an outcome in mind. Instead, praying for Christ to be present in helping us discover the greatest need. Then place these needs into Christ’s hands. The freedom of this type of prayer is more apt to help us discover joy than trying to do it on our own.

Click to read: Matthew 20: 20-28

Reflection Questions:

  • Where have you tried to influence an outcome with negative results?
  • When has the outcome you desired not been the best possible option?
  • When you pray, do you tell Jesus specifically the result you desire?
  • Does leaving things up to God’s decision produce comfort or fear? Why?

 

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