This past weekend, Patty and I had the privilege of taking our youngest child, Benjamin, to college. The morning before we left, the whole family had breakfast together to reminisce, laugh, and share the specialness of this transition time. The breakfast and the trip were jam-pack-filled with mixed emotions. It’s the end of a season, the end of an era we have enjoyed with all our hearts. He has been a great son, and caring for him has been a joy. He is the last one to “leave the nest” in this way, so it signals not only a new season for him, but for us as his parents. There is so much celebration, yet there’s disbelief that we are already here, and honestly a moment or two of wishing we could stop time from moving forward so quickly.
Yet this is what the last 18 years have been about. For the last 18 years, we have been working toward a very important goal and purpose. You see, our goal for Ben has never been to ultimately meet his needs. The ultimate and over-arching goal has been to help him take his next step in his own journey. When Patty first took Ben as an infant to the doctor, the doctor handed her a booklet describing the next steps he should be taking if he is growing and healthy. You remember those: rolling over, focusing his eyes, sitting up, making noises, etc. If at any check-point he was off in an area of growth, it would signal that something was wrong and needed to be addressed. It wouldn’t mean that he as a person was wrong, or that his value would be less. It would mean that he was not progressing in the way for which he was designed. It would mean an intervention and correction was needed.
Of course,we did meet his needs along the way, but it was always with the goal of helping him learn to do it himself. Along the way, he learned new skills and responsibility. Once he mastered the very basic skills of being a participating human, speaking and learning hygiene care, etc., he moved on to things that would enable him to be an independent and contributing part of life. He learned how to set his alarm clock so that he could get up on time to get ready for school. He has learned to prepare practical and simple meals to feed himself. He has learned how to sort clothes by colors and wash and dry them. The list could go on and on…
This is a little bitter sweet. It is bitter in that Ben is showing us that he can make it on his own. Certainly, though he stills wants and needs support, he is becoming a man who is responsible and is not dependent on his mom and dad. If we aren’t healthy, we will see it as not being needed instead of seeing it as a job well done.This is not unusual in relationships—the code word is co-dependency. We want to translate it as loving care, but actually we are disabling others by over-care. We who cannot empower and let go, ultimately are the needy ones.Sure, we will need to make adjustments and changes—there will be some grieving that this beautiful period is over, but really it isn’t about us. It’s about Ben reaching his full potential.It’s about us releasing him and making it easy for him to become all he was meant to be, not being an obstacle that holds him back.
That is the goal here at NewPointe. We want to help you realize and reach your full potential in Jesus Christ. What does that look like? Well, it is more about helping you take your next step than meeting your needs. Of course, we want to meet your needs, especially early in the journey. Ultimately, meeting your needs means helping you grow the wisdom, discipline, and discernment to take the next step and meet your own needs. Then you can help give birth to other new believers who need help in their infancy, and together we can grow a healthy family that reaches the world.
The apostle Paul said (Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 3:2) that sometimes people stunt their spiritual growth by only drinking milk (easy “stuff,” fed to you by others) instead of moving on to steak (spiritual responsibility that you can handle and feed yourself). We don’t want that for you and we don’t want it for us. We want us all to be steadily moving forward to full maturity in Christ. Our goal is the same as Paul had: “So that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” Colossians 1:28
So, you will hear less about “How can we meet your needs” than “How can we help you take the next step?” at NewPointe. We love you, and want you to reach the life for which you were created. It’s such a joy to see you grow and begin to help others on the journey. I’m glad we’re family.