Last week we began our discussion on the best gifts we can give our children, not just at Christmas, but throughout their lives. The very BEST gift you can give your children is the gift of Salvation and a personal relationship with the Lord- first your own, and then helping them in their own journey to Christ.
This week we will introduce the next gift for a lifetime: STABILITY.
We all want to feel loved, safe and secure. We want to know that we matter to someone; that we are accepted, secure and significant. It doesn’t take long in life for children to learn to look to have these base needs met and affirmed by others. This could be through parents or other family members, teachers, classmates or teammates. During the adolescent and teen years, children who do not feel these needs are met will look to romantic relationships or risk-taking activities to gain the approval of their peers. Even adults will seek to have these needs met by others in their lives, by societal ‘success markers’ (job title, income, possessions) if they never found a way to satisfy these internal longings.
The truth is, these longings are common to every one of us, even if we do not recognize them as such. The truth is, these longings can never be met outside of the Lord.
As parents, we have two responsibilities in this area.
First, we need to get to a place in our relationship with the Lord where we truly acknowledge and accept the fact that the Lord Himself wants to be our all in all. He wants us to find our significance, security and acceptance in Him alone. Once we do that, we will have greater joy and peace and will be better able to pour love into the lives of our children and others.
Some scriptures that point us towards what the Lord says about these areas:
Acceptance– You are valuable to God the Father and matter immensely to Him!
John 1:12-13 – We are God’s children and He loves us as such!
Colossians 1:12-14 – We are redeemed and forgiven, to the degree that we have a royal inheritance!
Significance– We are special, important and we matter to the Lord!
Ephesians 2:10- God more than loves us, He has special plans for each of His children.
Psalm 139 -He knows and cares about each of us intimately.
Security– We cannot do anything to push the Lord away from us or make Him stop loving us!
Romans 8:38- Once we are in Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of God!
Hebrews 4:16- We can find grace and mercy in times of need.
In understanding these truths, we gain a confidence in who we are as we begin to grasp the reality of God’s love and acceptance for us just as we are- warts and all. Knowing that we ‘matter’ to God, that He was willing to send His son to suffer and die for us, should show us just how important we are in the eyes of God. This causes us to feel secure because we know we belong to God and that we matter so much to Him. This confidence is seen by others as we extend love to them, instead of trying to ‘take love’ from them to fill our own needs.
Secondly, we need to create an atmosphere for our children that allows them to know these truths about themselves in their parent’s eyes, and in the eyes of God.
Fostering an environment that allows our children to know they are completely accepted, secure and significant in their parent’s eyes, is one of the best things we can give our children. This security bolsters confidence in who they are, who they belong to and why they are important. No matter what goes on during their school day, they know that they will be accepted for who they are, just as they are, when they walk through that door. This knowledge makes it easier to brush aside the ‘sticks and stones’ of the world.
We also need to back up these words with actions that solidify our own acceptance and unconditional love for our children.
- They need our undivided attention more than we need to check the latest social media post
- Our children need our time more than we need those extra couple hours at the office
- They need the peace and love that fosters a calm spirit, more than they need a ‘piece of our mind’ over every little shortcoming that irks us
As we learn more about who we are in Christ- where our true value comes from- we need to also impart that knowledge to our children. The earlier they learn their true value in the eyes of the Lord, the stronger they will be able to stand firm in their identity as a child of God.
As our children walk in the security of their identity in Christ, they will become confident teens, young adults and adults. This is truly one of the best gifts we can give our children, at any age!
For more material on gifts that money can’t buy, read this article from Focus on the Family website, by author Gary Thomas entitled: The Very Best Christmas Money Cant Buy.