Um, this is kind of awkward to ask. To all the women who usually read this blog, I’d kind of like to talk to the guys today. I mean, I guess you can read this if you like, but maybe you could show it to your husbands when you’re finished … especially if they’re dads.
I don’t know if there are many things more crushing to the male ego than realizing you are just not equipped to handle the task at hand. I remember back in high school a friend of mine once got he and I jobs picking tomatoes for a day. Well, it probably wasn’t supposed to be for just one day, but we somehow managed to turn our time on the job into that. That’s right: We somehow got fired from picking tomatoes. My friend would tell the story many times after that with a laugh, but I have to admit I was more than a little embarrassed to have to tell people I wasn’t even adequately suited to pick vegetables.
That’s usually the situation with any job you wind up not being able to perform, though; you always go in believing you’re fully up to the task. Law students who fail the bar exam come into law school thinking they’re going to be good lawyers. Basketball players who leave college early for the NBA believe they’re going to be great professional athletes. And men who find out they’re going to become fathers are confident they’ll eventually figure everything out and be good dads.
Of course, that last statement can’t be applied to all men. Some guys are just selfish, ignorant, immature idiots who believe the world revolves around them and their desires and could care less that they’ve just had a hand in bringing a new life into the world. Even so, many of the children of these lunkheads often wind up with some type of father figure in their lives, be it a stepfather or an adopted parent or maybe even a male mentor of some kind. These men may start out on shaky footing, but I would guess that many of them at some point probably wake up in the morning and think to themselves, “Yeah, I got a handle on this dad thing.”
As any man who has ever attempted to fill the role of father will attest, though, there is nothing like a child to utterly shatter your confidence. Your patience – which you thought was inexhaustible – suddenly becomes paper-thin. Your temper – which you thought was only a bubbling tea kettle – becomes a mountain of volcanic rage. Your knowledge – which you thought to be vast and refined – seems inadequate and outdated. Your hopes – which once appeared destined to become reality – begin to fade like distant dreams.
In other words, you might start to think you’re the wrong man for the job.
I have this thought a lot not only as a parent, but in my line of work as well. It feels sometimes as if a certain level of (insert whatever word fits you) is required, and that what I possess falls well below that level. There was another man a long time ago, though, that felt exactly the same way – Moses.
After 40 years or so of shepherding, God spoke to Moses and told him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Instead of packing his bags and heading straight for Egypt, though, Moses proceeds to go through just about every excuse he can think of to convince God he’s not the right man for the job. “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else,” Moses pleads in Exodus 4:13. God agrees to let Moses use his brother, Aaron, as a sort of mouthpiece, but is still very clear in His message to the shepherd – You are the man I want for this job.
It only recently dawned on me that not only is God telling Moses He believes he is the right man for the job, He is also stressing that he is the only man for the job. If this were some type of divine job interview, God would have moved on to the next candidate after about 30 seconds of listening to Moses’ excuses. He didn’t pass him over, though. For that moment and that purpose, God would not accept any other option. I suppose Moses could have run off into the wilderness somewhere, but, as people like Jonah found out, it’s pretty tough to outrun God.
Here’s my theory on this Father’s Day weekend, dads: You’re not only the right man for the job, you’re the only man for the job. For whatever reason, you are now responsible for a human life (or lives, in my case). I can’t believe, no matter what the circumstances, that occurred by accident. You’re the one and only dad, dropped into that position by Someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer. The Bible says those who love God are “equipped for every good work.” Could there be any greater work than being a parent? You may not feel equipped for the journey, but you are prepared to be the only thing that can be expected of you – a dad who’s going to get it wrong a lot, but is going to try and try and try his best to get it right.
So if you’re like me and a huge wave of guilt comes over you every time you hear your children lovingly tell you “Happy Father’s Day!”, let’s all take a step back this year and look at where we are – right where we’re supposed to be. Happy Father’s Day, dads. You’re the right men for the job.