I learned several important lessons this past week as I spent my first week as a stay at home dad.
Lesson 1: Running a household is a full-time job.
I am amazed at how difficult it is to get things done around the house with a baby around. It isn’t so much that nothing gets worked on, it is more that nothing gets finished. In an entire day I managed to wash and dry the laundry for the week but not fold it, I washed the dishes but didn’t put them away, I picked up the floor but didn’t vacuum, and so on… It amazes me that one little baby whose needs consist of eating, sleeping, a clean diaper, and love can consume every waking moment–even when she’s asleep! I know what you women are thinking: that you’ve been saying this all along, but bear with me, I’m a guy.
Lesson 2: Being a man is not having a job.
I believe that a man should provide for his family. Call it old fashioned, call it sexist, I really do desire to provide for my wife and daughter’s needs. What I am discovering is that sometimes God challenges me to remind me that He is the provider of all our needs, not me. I have often put too much stock in my ability or inability to make things work financially, but I have realized that if it isn’t possible for all believers it isn’t true Christianity, and if it isn’t true Christianity it isn’t true masculinity. If having a good job were the key to biblical manhood, then there are many men worldwide who will never have a chance at godly manhood. That brings me to…
Lesson 3: Biblical masculinity is harder than worldly masculinity.
In the world, masculinity’s definition is changing constantly, but what seems consistent is that it focuses on looks, attitude, and demeanor. Biblical masculinity focuses on something deeper, it focuses on your heart and soul, the basis of who you are in Christ. The questions of worldy masculinity are: what do you do for a living? how do you dress? how strong are you? what have you achieved?
The questions of biblical masculinity are: who do you serve? what are you willing do give up? are you willing to give it to God?
When I think of masculinity I have to admit that I usually think of someone strong, someone who doesn’t need any help, someone like Chuck Norris. But it takes more courage to ask for help, to humble yourself and ask, than it does do it on your own. It takes more courage to say “I trust you Lord, with all that I have” than it takes to make your own way in this world. As I am at home right now, taking care of the baby, I find that I continually need greater courage than I have ever needed, because I have to trust God that everything will be well, even though no matter what I do it doesn’t seem to get better.
Lesson 4: It isn’t what you do, but who you trust.
When I look at the promises of God I am reminded of several things. All I am is a sinner, but He is the Savior. All I have are needs, but He is the Provider. All my works are filthy rags, but His blood washes whiter than snow. All I am is a descendant of Adam, but He is the New Adam. I am an enemy of God, but He takes the wrath. And because I trust Him, He has given me new life. Where there was dry ground there is fruit. Where there was death there is life. Where there was blindness there is most blessed sight. And with that sight I see the truth of things that even angels long to see. I am not a man because I am great, I am a man because I am in Christ, the true Man, the God-Man, our Savior.