We're all familiar with the flight attendant "in preparation for takeoff" speech. Specifically, the part when they say:
"In the case of sudden loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will drop. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. ... If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person."
"Your mask first." Seems a little selfish, don't you think? We know better.
If you are going to be of any help to your child or loved one, you will need to tend to your safety first. It's true in the spiritual realm as well.
Fathers, if you are going to be of any help, any encouragement, any strength to your children, then getting your heart back is critical to helping the hearts entrusted to your care.
There are many kinds of dads out there. We aren't "called" to be a dad—you either are or aren't. The calling is on you.
Every man has been on a challenging journey, a masculine journey of becoming more or less of who they have it in them to be. Long before fatherhood, the enemy of our hearts has come after a man to steal, kill and destroy—attempt to make him settle for less. The kingdom of darkness is all about assaulting a man during his lifetime, from boyhood to fatherhood, with a lot of wounding that darkness is betting will impede our ability to breathe, compromise our capacity to love and stunt our strength to offer.
This is a very dangerous position in which to fight for your kids—compromised. It's dangerous to your heart and to theirs. The further you are from your true self, the harder it will be for your kids to find theirs, and that is exactly what our enemy wants.
The more you are free, walking with God in your true self, the more you will find your voice and strength. This is what the Trinity wants. A man's true self is felt, seen and experienced by those he is given to love when he walks in the freedom given him by the Father through the Son:
—Nothing to hide.
—Nothing to prove.
—Nothing to fear.
This is living and loving like Jesus, the unique and incredible one whose image you bear. When a man comes to experience first that He is the beloved son, he can then fight well for the hearts of his children. God is with us and for us, and it is His unconditional love that, when experienced, will transcend and transform us.
And that is what all children need: a father who is transformed.
This fatherhood thing is important, very important, and therefore the primary target of our enemy. Satan and his minions are counting on the storms of life working against you rather than training you.
Our children live in the same story we do and the same story our fathers did, a very large story in which living naïvely or ignorant or worse, unconscious to what is really going on, how it all works and who God is inviting us to be is not only a turbulent journey but certain to end in disaster.
Experiencing the love of God is our lifeline, the oxygen we need so when the challenges come—and they will—not only can we breathe, but we can also engage and assist those entrusted to us to keep safe.
Join us on the Exploring More podcast episode 111) as we explore a series on The Secrets of Fatherhood, Part 1, "Getting Your Heart Back."
Michael Thompson is a Christian author, teacher, mentor and guide for the hearts of men and women. He is the founder of Zoweh Raleigh/ Durham area of North Carolina. He has been married to his wife, Robin, since 1990.They have three daughters: Ashley, Hannah and Abbey and live in a redemptive community of friends and allies who work to experience life together and offer life to all whom God brings across their path. Connect with them at zoweh.org.
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