Fighting For Something This Father’s Day

Jonathon M. Seidl

June 13, 2024 | 3 minute read

The words hit me hard. So hard, in fact, I started tearing up. 

They came as I was scrolling Instagram this week. They’re the words of an old friend and pastor of mine, Jon Tyson. I want you to listen to these, especially if you’re a man and especially if you’re a father:

I kid you not, I would pay $10,000 cash for one more day with my daughter at age 5. If I could go back in time, and take her to the park, and get a bagel at Absolute Bagel and just sit in the park and play with my daughter. I would do anything to get that time back, but it’s gone. You didn’t feel like it at the time. I felt like I had eternity. But now that she's gone – she’s moved out, she’s not moving back in – it’s like, man, I really wish I’d redeployed those hours. I think a lot of men think they’ve got forever, but they miss the moment. And they give themselves to civilian affairs, when God’s really calling them to fight, to stand up, fight for their kids’ hearts, fight for their marriage, fight for their community.

I’ve listened to those words numerous times and I teared up again writing them out. How about you? 

See, I think they are especially prescient in light of our proximity to Father’s Day. I’m the father of two children, a daughter (9) and a son (6). Every week, I feel like they are slipping away. They’re growing older faster than I could imagine. They are saying and doing things that I’m not ready for them to say or do. And the phrase that plays over and over in my mind is, “The days are long but the years are short.” 

And so as that soundtrack plays in my mind, there’s a yearning that continues to grow in my heart. That yearning is to be with them, invest in them and train them. To love them deeper and deeper every day. 

There’s just one problem: that requires something very specific. Something hard. Something that doesn’t come naturally. 

That requires sacrifice

To love others – especially our children – we have to sacrifice. In the end, the fight for the hearts of our children is a fight to sacrifice. To die to self. And that is a fight to submit – to submit to a God who calls us to love others as we love ourselves. 

We aren’t wired for that. Yes, I get that there is an innate sense of protection we have for our kids. But to truly and regularly – and that is the key word, “regularly” – sacrifice for them is something we have to fight for. Something we have to fight to do. 

If it was so natural that it was easy, no parent would ever regret not having enough time with their child. And yet we do have that regret. We do have those feelings. Why? Because we are constantly fighting our selfishness. We are constantly fighting a battle to submit to what Jesus calls us to do. We are constantly having to make war on our sin. 

That sin looks like chasing after our own comforts constantly. If you’re honest with yourself, I think you know that to be true. Personally, my greatest battle is fighting against escapism. So many of my struggles can be boiled down to that one. I want to escape; I want to be comfortable; I want it to be easy. 

Do you know what isn’t easy? Parenting. Especially parenting two kids who are under 10. And my guess is if you’re a parent – especially a dad – you could say the same thing, no matter your child’s age. 

So what do we do? 

Friend, we have to fight. Dads, we have to fight. We have to fight for the hearts of our children like Tyson says and that fight starts with fighting the battle within. That battle is about constantly dying to self. Constantly looking to sacrifice. Constantly submitting to what our father has called us to do

That’s not easy. I get it. But it’s necessary. 

It’s popular to say that one day you’ll have to answer to God for how you parented your kids. I think in many senses that’s true. But can I be honest with you? Before you ever meet God you’re going to have to live with yourself. And long before the man upstairs asks you what you did with and for your kids, the man in the mirror is going to ask that question. 

Why don’t you start living this Father’s Day in a way that makes answering that question so much easier? It’s the essence of Living Second. It’s simple, but it isn’t easy. And it’s a fight. 

Fight for it anyway.

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. Seidl

Jonathon M. (Jon) Seidl is a writer, speaker, and digital media strategist. He’s the author of the #1 bestseller, Finding Rest: A Survivor’s Guide to Navigating the Valleys of Anxiety, Faith, and Life.

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