My daughter is about to have her first birthday. And I can’t believe it. Before I was a parent, I inwardly mocked those parents who wanted their kids to slow down and not grow up so fast. But I get it now. There is a growing list of things that she can do on her own. She no longer needs me to hold her arms as she takes steps. She no longer needs me to hold her bottle. She can play by herself, she can feed herself, and yet I know that in the scheme of things she is still relatively dependent on me. Her independence is only going to increase. And I’m not sure I’m ok with that.
But when I’m honest with myself, when I’m clear-headed, I realize it’s not about me. It is about my daughter, and what’s best for her. And it is good for her to grow. It is good for her to learn how to do things. If I truly lover her, not as my possession, but as a child of God who was put into my care, I will root for her growth because it’s for her good. And as she grows, I know that she is going to become more and more independent and less dependent on me. There will come a day when my wife and I will not be the center of her universe. I wonder if this is how John the Baptist felt. In the book of John, we’re told that John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for the coming Christ. And he does it very well. He has a dynamic ministry; he is baptizing people left and right, he is doing so well that the pharisees ask him if he is the Christ, Elijah or The Prophet. But as Christ’s ministry begins, John starts losing followers to Him. What’s his response? “He must increase and I must decrease”. He might have responded by trying to regain control. “No! Follow me!” But he knew that it was better for him to be cast aside and for Christ to become the central figure in his followers lives.
I am a good thing for my daughter. Out of all the men in the world, God chose to make me her father. But I’m not the best thing for her. Jesus is. I pray everyday that as she grows up she would place her faith in Jesus Christ and then desire to follow Him all the days of her life. I know though, that means I will not be the central figure in her life. He will. “He must increase and I must decrease”. And that is the best thing for her.