Friday, May 9, 2014

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

When I first found myself raising kids without a wife, it scared me. In survival mode I held on tight to the steering wheel and just drove. I didn't care where the road took me as long as I kept the car inside the lane markers. I understand how you might freak out. My friend, don't panic. Thousands of us dads have navigated this road before you. Single dads have traveled this path when all they had was a gravel road and a horse. We ride on their shoulders.Mistakes will be made; count on it. A glance from time to time at your dashboard might eliminate some problems if you can catch it quick enough. But it’s not the end of the world if you lose a belt. You just fix it and move on.
Still, sometimes we feel like mistakes are failures. We have this self-imposed pressure to appear invincible—refusing to admit (even to ourselves) we have weak areas in our lives. That can create some real problems for us super heroes.
For me, it’s not mistakes—stress is my nemesis. If something makes me angry I stuff it down and move forward. If something emotional or sad occurs, I try to be stoic. When my schedule is overbooked and I haven’t allowed enough cushion between major projects or deadlines, I keep going. After all, I can’t appear to be fragile. The problem is I begin to forget things, even mid-sentence. That's the first warning sign. If I continue neglecting myself, the stress shows up physically.
I used to get chest pain and run to the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack, only to have the doctors tell me my heart was very healthy and my issues were stress related. I finally understood when I exercised and the symptoms went away. I felt wonderful. Today, with the help of my attentive wife, I’ve learned to discern stress, and I’m able to change course before it overcomes me.
Keeping ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy in the midst of stressors helps us with clearer decision-making skills when it comes to raising our children. Most of all, a robust spiritual condition ensures the Holy Spirit is clearly heard over all the noise this world and Satan throw at us fathers. First Timothy 4:8 says, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Parenting alone is distracting. Sometimes you’re going to veer off the road God has for you—but there is grace. Place both hands on the wheel; keep heaven on the horizon and a prayer on your lips.
What most scares you about parenting after divorce?