One of the greatest gifts that my father gave me was living a life that exemplified true wisdom. Through my childhood I saw him learn and grow and change, his understanding of God and the Bible and Truth ever deepening. As an adult, there have been many times when I’ve watched others struggle to learn something that my father carefully ingrained into me as a young girl.
In honor of Father’s Day, I want to share with you some of the most valuable lessons that my father taught me. (The numbered points are direct quotes that we often heard repeated growing up, and the paragraphs following are further insights that were explained over time.)
1. Are you wondering if you’re called to be a leader? Look behind you and see if anyone is following.
Leadership is a tricky thing. It involves years of service with moments of recognition being few and far between. If you want to someday lead, learn to wash the feet of those around you.
2. When a friend is hurt, comfort them, but don’t borrow the offense.
Empathy is different than building a defense. Walking through difficulties with someone doesn’t have to involve personal anger at the person who hurt them.
3. Don’t be afraid to speak, just keep your words soft. Gentleness turns hearts faster than force.
Standing firm in truth doesn’t actually involve beating people over the head with a Bible. Walk in truth and speak softy.
4. When someone says, “If you read the Bible you’ll see that…” don’t just take their word for it. Read it yourself.
Look at all the levels of context. Know the Scriptures.
5. Your Mama is the prettiest woman alive.
Honor her, even when you don’t agree with her. Treat her with respect, even if you feel that she isn’t respecting you.
6. It’s good to submit to authority, but use discretion. They’re your parent, teacher, or pastor, not your god.
Submission means accepting that it is not your responsibility to control the person you are submitting to. But that doesn’t mean you need to take their word as law. No human being is a god and none should be treated like one.
7. If you hear teaching that makes you wonder, research it.
You have a Bible and the Holy Spirit, so you are capable of discerning truth. Be discerning.
8. It’s okay to look different than those around you. It’s not okay to look different and be proud of it.
As a Christian, your life will (hopefully!) reflect Christ. If you’re proud of the way you dress or speak or eat or live, you’re not reflecting Christ. Humbleness is a state of lowness. It is recognizing your need for a redemptive Savior.
9. You don’t actually “need” most of the things you think you do.
Society sends a lot of messages about what you need or don’t need. Most of it is rubbish. It’s okay to have things, but be careful or you’ll become a slave to your possessions.
10. At some point you’re going to feel lost in your faith because God doesn’t do what you expect Him to do.
And it will be that moment when you find out what it truly means to have faith.
Now it’s your turn! Will you share with us a piece of wisdom that you’ve learned from your dad or a father-figure in your life?
Photography: JenniMarie Photography