Eighteen year old wisdom

Our son decided to get a tattoo for his 18th birthday. When he made the announcement months earlier about his intention, I think he expected a huge negative reaction from us. This was his opportunity to rebel against us – a rite of passage for all boys. But we didn’t object. We simply asked him to honor a few requests: nothing objectionable, something meaningful – now and in the future, in a location that won’t be embarrassing for him, at a reputable shop and to speak with a couple of my friends that are very experienced with tattoos. He complied and was ready to go a month after his birthday; we still didn’t object. He designed his own symbol that represents – be positive and keep moving forward, period! Two bent lines and a dot in the center (the period). When he looked up similar symbols he found that it is almost identical to the Viking symbol for “create your own destiny”. It was very meaningful to him and he had the two lines and a dot placed on the underside of his left wrist (covered by his watch). He told us that he was surprised that we didn’t say no. We had no reason to object.

The verse today describes how most of us feel on a regular basis – hard pressed. Since the start of the New Year, I’ve focused on the opportunities that come with a new beginning. I learned from or was reminded by “a kid” that I need to be positive and look forward in all things. He’s obviously much smarter than I ever give him credit for. So ask yourself, are you looking forward to what is possible or are you looking behind at what could have been? As they say, “out of the mouths of babes”, came great advice from someone who is choosing to see the rest of his life with great optimism. Maybe we should all do the same.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Corinthians 4:8

My guess is that this verse describes most of our lives – hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. We are however, not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned and not destroyed and we have God to thank for that. Life can be hard and challenging but God is working with us to help us navigate the troubles in our lives. I can’t help but wonder if I let all of the negative things that happen in my life to gain the advantage, how miserable I would be. I can’t tell you why I wasn’t upset that our son wanted to get a tattoo and those that know me; a tattoo isn’t exactly in keeping with my “old man” persona. It wasn’t the worst thing that he could have done.

God is in control of our lives and He has a plan for us. While we can’t create our own destiny, we do have the ability to influence the things that affect that plan. We can choose to ignore God’s plan or we can choose to follow it. Our son’s tattoo is really a symbol of what God’s wants for us – stay positive and keep moving forward. We will not be destroyed by this life or by the sin of our lives. God sent us a savior to make sure that we would be close to Him; forgiven for all sin and innocent in His eyes. This is enough reason to keep moving forward and to stay positive.