Delighting in God (OR a theology of worship taught by a seven month old)

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
–Psalm 37:4

Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since Emory was born last May have come from the new role that I now have as a dad. I’ve heard people say that having a kid changes you more than you could ever expect. I can tell you without a doubt that it’s 100% true and happened faster than I expected. I’ve changed more over the past [almost] eight months than probably the past decade, especially in the area of my emotions. I’ve learned to open my heart more fully. I’ve learned what it really means to love someone more than you love yourself.

The most surprising lesson I’ve learned from Emory has been what worshiping God really looks like. I never thought that a person who doesn’t know how to talk could really teach me a profound lesson. The Psalms are a book of worship. One theme that runs throughout the book is that we, as God’s children, are to delight ourselves in Him. I now know what this looks like. I can also say, ashamedly, that my delighting in God is no where near where it should be in comparison to Emory’s delighting in me.

The squeals that Emory makes when I look down on her are more pure expressions of joy than any of the words that I’ve sung to the Lord. The giggles that she makes when I tickle her are more authentic than the prayers that I’ve prayed to my Savior. The smiles that makes when she sees me are deeper than the happiness I find when I study God’s Word.

Who would have known that one little ball of joy could teach, convict, and redirect my life lived as an expression of worship to God so dramatically and so soon. I love thinking about the journey of life that I’ll share with my daughter and the rest of the lessons that she’ll teach me. And hopefully I’ll be able to teach her a thing or two along the way.

Feeling like a dad

One of the things that I thought would change once I became a dad was that I would feel different. I always assumed that since my world was about to get turned upsidedown that life would feel different at a very fundament level, that I wouldn’t ever feel like the person I was before Emory was born. Over two months into this new phase of my life I realize now that it’s not true. I’m still who I am and feel, for the most part, like the same person.

That’s not to say that my life is not different, but I guess I’ve always thought that fatherhood would touch the core of my emotions in a way that I would be reshaped into a new and different person. The feeling that I have about being a dad I can best describe as feeling right. I do, however, still feel like I am the same person.

I guess that what being a parent is starting to do, though, is to reveal more fully who I really am. I know that my weak areas (selfishness, laziness, etc.) are more obvious to me now. I also think that my strong areas rise more to the surface, too.

Maybe the reason for this “true self” that I feel like I’m becoming has to do with the fact that I’m more fully living out God’s command on my life. God told the original inhabitants of the earth, Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). I’m starting to “fill the earth” with my offspring.

Maybe this, also, was partly was Jesus was alluding to when he said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). It shouldn’t be a suprise at all that when I live out and obey God’s commands my life will be more rewarding.

Hardest part of being a new dad

To follow up on yesterday’s post about the best thing(s) about being a dad I thought I’d share what I think is the absolutely hardest part about being a father. You may have heard that the sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and the baby crying is the hardest part, but that not it from my perspective. Those parts are not very fun sometimes, but they are easy compared to the real thing that is the hardest.

What really is the hardest part of being a dad is what I call the “cloud of responsibility.” Picture the Peanuts comic strip where the storm cloud follows Charlie Brown around. That’s kind of what the cloud does. It’s there no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Now that Emory is here, I know for certain that I am responsibile for the well-being of another person. That’s pressure.

And when I say responsible I mean EVERY LAST ASPECT OF HER LIFE will be a direct reflection, for the most part, on how well I do as a father. I’ve read plenty of studies that show that if the dad is a positive influence on his child’s life she will be happier, healither, and have a better confidence in herself than if he’s absent. But on the flipside if a dad is not a positive influence her life will pretty much be a wreck. (I’m exaggerating, obviously).

Having this said, I don’t mind the cloud being there. It makes me sharper. It inspires me to work harder. I know that, with God’s help, I will be up to the challenge.