Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 ESV )
I'm looking forward to being a father. My wife is 27 weeks pregnant with our baby girl and, so far, we've learned that she loves amplified music, enjoys being generally squirmy all the time, and delights in persistently kicking my wife all day. If she's anything like her parents, there's a good chance she will also love to eat, be strongly opinionated, and go through several awkward phases growing up. She's almost certain to be clueless with members of the opposite sex. I hope she'll be wonderful, but I am willing to settle for not-terrible-to-be-around.
If you asked me about becoming a father two years ago, I probably would have used words like ‘not ready’ or ‘maybe later’ or ‘anxiety-provoking’, but all of that has changed in the past few months. I'm incredibly excited and looking forward to this new phase of life. I think becoming a parent feels similar to getting on a roller coaster—it may appear terrifying when you're looking at it from the ground—but once you get on, it can be thrilling. Plus the ride lasts 18 years (26+ years if you birthed a Millennial) so you may as well enjoy it while you're on it.
As clichéd as it sounds, this has felt like a season of transition. Not only are we getting ready to become parents, we're walking through transition in many other facets of life—growing deeper with family, selling our home, seeking clarity on vocation, and becoming more intentional with community.
Copyright: Lane Erickson / 123RF
In this place of continual transition, my first instinct to tackle the changes in life is to plan better, work harder, and focus more. Other Enneagram Ones will also resonate with the inner drive (i.e., the critic) to ‘get it right’—whatever ‘it’ might be and whatever ‘right’ might mean. It can be stressful.
The teachings of Jesus consider children as invaluable members of the kingdom of God who are gifts to families. Sure they need nurture, guidance, and discipline, but they also have a ton they can teach adults. In the spirit of fatherhood, I've been asking what my daughter can teach me. I think about her and how she is special to me, even without meeting her yet. I don't expect her to plan better, work harder, focus more, or get it right. I appreciate her because of who she is and who she will become. I appreciate her because a part of her belongs to me, and a part of me belongs to her (though I hear this is less evident in the teenage years). And I appreciate her because she is fearfully and wonderfully made.
In this time of transition, my daughter has been teaching me something about God—that God doesn't expect us to plan better, work harder, focus more, and get it right when things become tough. God sees us the way I see our daughter. And He appreciates us because of who we are. I'm choosing to lean into these lessons in this season of life and feel a sense of hopeful anticipation at the many more lessons to come.
Daniel Fang is married to the wisest and most beautiful woman in the world, Marie. He came to faith in college and has been attending The River Church since 2012. There he volunteers in small groups ministry and the worship team. In his spare time, Daniel eats, runs, reads, and rants about systemic imperfections. He enjoys spending time with his golden retriever, Sobe, who is perfect.