Alright coronavirus, you win this round. Not because you’ve infected me. At least not that I’m aware of. But you have revealed an infection in me that I did not know about.
I am a bad dad. This is not false humility. Nor is it a baited attempt for encouragement. Just honesty. I’m pretty sure I’m not the worst dad. I don’t think I’m bad in every way or all the time. I have some strengths and good moments. I love my family. Which is why it hurt me so deeply when my son let me know how I have hurt him.
The COVID-19 quarantine has taken away many of our coping mechanisms. We can’t escape from the people we live with. We shouldn’t spend money on non-essential indulgences. We are unable to throw ourselves into our work. This is all a brutal blessing. It forces us to face issues we would rather not deal with.
Have you sensed this in your heart? Has the removal of temporary escapes revealed weaknesses you did not know you had? Me too.
My 11-year-old son left me a note the other night that started with, “I feel like nothing I do is good enough for you.” Ugh. Kick me in the gut and rip my heart out while I’m down! When did I become that dad? How did this happen?
He’s right. I understand why he feels this way. And he’s not the only one. My wife told me something similar a few days earlier when she said, “your unattainable standards are crushing everyone around you.” I understand why she feels that way. This is how I live.
I do not feel like anything I do is good enough. My blogging, my preaching, my reading, my eating, my exercise… shoot, even when I play a video game I berate myself up for the mistakes I make. I don’t even know what “satisfied” feels like. I have never considered contentment a possibility.
Victim or Convict
If you, like me, are feeling some of this, how do we move forward? Do we need to give ourselves a break? Heal some childhood trauma? Learn how to live within our enneagram numbers? Some of that might be helpful in some ways. What I know for sure, though, is we need to repent.
Can you see what one of my core issues is? Do you know the source of some of your struggles? Maybe we need to ask some questions like this.
Who is the only one who is never wrong? Who is the only one who always gets everything right? Who is the only one who’s ways are perfect? God alone. When I hold myself, others, or any part of the creation to God-like expectations, I am trying to be God or forcing other things to be my God. And that was the lie that sold Adam and Eve on the forbidden fruit. “You can be like God.”
Condemned for us
This is why God became like us. Jesus took on flesh. He performed perfectly. He never even drank too much water. Jesus fulfilled God’s expectations for all of humanity. He did this so that He could be exhausted by my futile attempts to be perfect, to be God. It pleased God to crush Christ in our place so that God could satisfy us all with His perfect love. And in that, we are liberated. Not to be God, but to be human. Weak. Limited. Dependent. Cherished by the One, True God. And when we are satisfied by Him, we can let others be human as well.
Take off the Makeup
I suspect I’m not alone in this. Has this season forced some junk out of your heart too? What are you going to do with it? Would you consider joining me in trying not to hide, shift, justify, or pacify our sin?
Put On Christ
Maybe the coronavirus didn’t win this round after all. Isn’t it just like our God to use what feels like death to bring life? The anger, irritation, frustration, failures, and guilt – can all be redeemed to bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. How? By thinking less about our performance and more about God’s. To think less about ourselves and more about Him. We must become less, Christ must become more.
And it just might happen that as we lose our lives, identifying and repenting of our idolatry, we just might find true and better life in Christ alone.