As we explore the mission of God in the book of Jonah, we have asked some lay leaders from the Ridder Leadership Initiative to share their reflections. They were each given two questions to consider: Where do you see God present and at work around you? And how are you joining in on God's mission?
Below are reflections from Steve Braunius, a member of the Ridder Team, a technological guru, and dedicated husband and father:
As a parent I have the privilege of getting to snuggle with our 2 children. Thankfully, they are still at an age where they still like to snuggle. It usually begins when I am in the same room as our kids, sitting in a comfortable chair reading or using some electronic device. One of 2 things will happen:
1) they will wiggle onto my lap OR
2) I'll see a look of tiredness or anxiety and will ask them onto my lap
Either way, the end result is the same--feeling peace as we spend time together. Sometimes this will be without any words. Other times we'll start talking about whatever is on their minds. Being close allows us to talk in a way that is so different than when we are together in the car or spending time outside. The conversations are especially meaningful when I can sense that they are feeling anxiety. During these times we will progress from silence, to simple words, and then to whatever is troubling them. These are times where they know I care about them and am by their side.
So, what does this have to do with the work of God? Through my life I have been learning to snuggle with God. Okay, that sounds a little weird. There are other words for it:
- quiet time
It is such a simple concept: block out some time in a private place and spend time reading the Bible, praying, and listening to God. In practice, it is unbelievably difficult for me. At times, it feels like I am weaseling up onto God's lap trying to get close to Him. Other times, He is calling me to time with Him. The big challenge, it turns out, is for me to make sure I'm in the same room as God. I know, God is everywhere. The problem is that I don't look for Him where I am or look outside the activity I am doing. I do believe, as I learn this discipline, that God will give me peace and will make His will known to me--just like I know it does for our children.
Being a parent continues to be a way that I am called to join in God's work. Unexpectedly, it turns out that I can learn so much about how to interact with God by watching how our children interact with me and how I respond to them. Have you seen yourself as a child? As a child of God? If not, maybe it is time to start looking at the children who are around you so you, like me, can find new ways to relate to Him.