Last night, as I considered charging through this morning’s list of groceries, piles of weekend laundry, and lingering homeschool lessons, I ventured to think through how to inspire drive, tenacity, maybe even excellence in my kids…at some point in the day. Recently coming off of the Olympics, inspiring my children has seemed a worthy endeavor.
These last few weeks, our family has crouched closely together around the television, holding our breaths as athletes defied gravity and exhaustion to perform. We have joined together to cheer them to victory. Raucous roars and tightly fisted hoorays have filled our at-home arena. In awe of Michael Phelps’ speedy and streamlined swimming and Simone Biles’ wondrous gymnastic feats, naturally our family has engaged in a few conversations about hard work, giftedness, and the pursuit of a dream.
But as I looked on various closing ceremony images this morning, eager to see Simone Biles bearing the American flag, I came across this picture, and it stunned me. This was not the Rio I have imagined these last few weeks. You guys, take a look at this and come right back.
In the most honest way, this snapshot put me in my place. It forced me to remember the reality that is clawing its way down the streets of Brazil. And the reality my heart desperately needs to face when I’m wondering about the best ways to inspire my kids to “fulfill their potential.”
I stare at this skinny, shoeless boy as he gazes at the firecracker glory that permeates the skyline from Mangueira favela, one of many crime-ridden, drug infested, impoverished shantytowns built into the hillsides of Rio de Janiero, and I wonder. What is he thinking? Will he ever get out? Does he even have a chance?
Absorbed by the moment captured here, first, I find myself relieved. We have it so good. Nervous next. But it may not be like that forever. Then just plain outright hit upside the head by my selfish anxiety. Why do I spend more time worrying about how I’m not doing enough to inspire and lead my kids instead of praying that God will allow me to inspire and lead my kids?
The only way I’m going to inspire my children to great work is to take time to pray about how I can be a part of the great work myself.
And for now, only pray. Not do the great work. Not yet. Pray and seek His face as I read Scripture. Wait and see where He leads. Because the power of the Holy Spirit will lead, and there is nothing more inspiring, for anyone, than the Holy Spirit’s guidance.