Insuring Your Faith
There's nothing like traveling out of the country without health insurance...
...especially when your teenager is with you.
I didn't plan on this happening by any means; I heard the news the day before our big trip.
My son and I had been planning for months to take part in a mission trip to Honduras through Lifetree Adventures. We were well-prepped in advance to make sure that we had everything we needed for a good trip, from travel documents to the right clothing.
Our health insurance provider had other plans, however.
Long story short--a glitch in the system caused my family to lose all coverage. We were in the midst of reconciling this issue (which ended up taking months), but the timing threw my wife and I off. She especially wondered what this might mean for our mission trip.
"Are you still going?" she asked.
I didn't even think about it. "Of course," I replied.
"What if something happens and you need a hospital, though?" she countered.
"Honey, do you believe God has called Joshua and I to go and serve on this trip?"
She paused. "Yes. Of course."
"Then our hope is in him and not our insurance cards," I offered.
That was the perspective she needed. Immediately, she was again on board.
But that didn't mean we didn't still have a hairline crack of nervousness in the back of our minds, but we were forging ahead in faith versus fear.
How many things in life need this kind of "chosen confidence" in God?
What if our role as parents of teens is keeping their faith elevated, like keeping a pinball propped up in the air?
I know...it sounds kind of daunting. But keep in mind that the most powerful way to have an influence on your kids' faith is going to develop within the context of your relationship with them. (And your own growing relationship with God.)
After all, faith is a relationship with God--not a subject to learned, or something to "do" on Sundays.
And genuine faith, just like relationships, grows in the everyday moments of life.
So as you focus on deepening a healthy relationship with your kids, remember that it's an opportunity model an understanding of what a relationship with God is like.
Here are 3 everyday ways you can elevate your teenager's faith in the context of your relationship with them:
- Establish bumpers: Proverbs 16:3 says to commit everything you do to the Lord and he shall establish your plans. This means that no matter what we intend to do, God gets the final say in how it plays out. It's a great template for parenting; teens need to understand that they can't get everything they want in the way they want it. Establish "bumpers" by defining clear rules and expectations, and have frequent conversations with your kids about responsibilities, boundaries, and consequences. (Also, don’t be afraid to enforce consequences.)
- Use flippers: Instead of wanting to control everything as their parent, look for ways that boost your teen’s confidence by helping them own their voice and decisions. For example, if your teen has a request that doesn’t require an obvious parental “no,” invite them to offer an informal presentation for why it should happen. Evaluate the pros and cons together—ask for time to pray about it—and come to a mutual, respectful decision.
- Reclaim lost balls: Every parent dreads seeing their kids suffer a loss or heartbreak. In John 16:33, Jesus reminds us that we will face trials in this world, but to have peace in him. He doesn't promise to erase suffering, but rather be alongside us throughout it. So instead of desperately trying to protect your son or daughter from experiencing disappointment, walk with them through tough moments and be fully present alongside them. Point them to Scripture, pray with them, and pray for them. You're not just preparing your kid for the world, you’re raising a future adult who has to learn how to experience failure and lean on God through it.
My son and I did go on the trip, and no, we didn't get sick or hospitalized.
Even if we did, we would have had to put our hope and trust in God.
It's the only way I know to insure my faith.
As Max Lucado put it, "The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. But make your fear a visitor and not a resident."
Don't be afraid. Be in awe.