Fathers and future fathers beware. There is something that all the books and classes don’t prepare you for when becoming part of this significant club called fatherhood. It’s not the crying, the diapers, the sleeplessness, the frustration or any other gift a newborn brings your way. It’s the simple truth that while much of your life changes, so too does your spiritual life.
Regardless if its your first child, becoming a father changes the way in which you previously encountered and engaged the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I experienced this once, with our first child and now again with the arrival of our second. I’d have to say the second has been more challenging than the first.
Find A New Rhythm
What worked previously for you and God, might not have a chance with a baby in the mix. Waking up early is eclipsed by the fact you’re running on way less sleep, way less brain power and way more stress. Whatever your daily routine, it is no doubt different. I’m currently grasping for my new rhythm and as a new father, you probably will too. But it’s vital. Pursue Father, Son and Holy Spirit and be open to something new. It might be the time you have to and from work, it might be carving out a day or two a week specifically for prayer or study, it might be over lunch or in the evening. There’s no right or wrong, but find it.
Beware of the Lies
Lurking in the shadows of fatherhood are the lies of discouragement and discontentment. As a new father you will be fed volumes of lies about your identity as a Christ follower, your capabilities, your past, present and future. We have to consistently go back to the truth of the Gospel to combat those lies; to remind ourselves of who we are, the love given to us, the power entrusted to us, and the reality that we are never abandoned — even as average, ordinary fathers who fail daily.
Hold Fast to Community
Our natural tendency in times of struggle is to flee; we’ve been doing it since the garden. We’ll tough it out, bunker down, wait it out and hope for the best. But nothing could be more detrimental to fatherhood, to life — than isolation. We were created to commune with God and each other. I’m grateful for the fellow men in my life and the community who has invested in us. Run to Him and run to them. Engage your wife in a conversation not about your kid(s). Invest in weekly “date night” even if it means take-out at home when the kids are asleep. Don’t abandon community.
Enjoy His Grace
God’s grace is most evident in our weakness. Weakness is rampant in fatherhood because so much of fatherhood is out of of our control. A newborn incessantly screams at your face unaware you have no social, mental or spiritual bandwidth to handle it. By God’s grace you have been given this life to steward over, you have supernatural strength to weather the storm and tomorrow, you might be able to try again. Through the good, the bad and the worse…His grace is often much more evident in fatherhood.
Fathers or those who one day hope to be — may you keep the faith in all the many seasons of fatherhood that are before us.