The Role of a Child

What is the role of a child? 

I had my therapist ask me this question when I was sharing with him my childhood.

 I grew up thinking that my role in my family was to protect and save them.

Growing up, I even had leaders tell me that I was given certain gifts and was placed in this family because God was going to use me to save them.

Then he asked me, “So let’s say one of your students came up to you, a 9 year old, and revealed that she was in a similar circumstance/situation and proclaimed, ‘ this is my role pastor, to save and protect my family.’ What would you say to her?”

And then my mind went blank…

Because I imagined I was looking at my younger self.
A child, trying to make sense of the situation.
Trying to make sense of her parents’ dysfunction
the brokenness of this world. 

“No… I would tell her that is that is not her role.”

A child’s role is not to be the provider.
A child’s role is not to be the teacher.
A child’s role is not to be the protector.
A child’s role is not to be the savior.
A child’s role is not to be the emotional support/marriage counselor.

So what is the role of a child?

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Due to life circumstances and my parents’ hardships and brokenness,
I was trained to think I was the provider. I was the teacher, the protector, and the savior of this household. The only thing I couldn’t do was bring in money. But everything else, I could do. I had to do.

I realize now that this understanding grew into an adult who constantly asks what she could do. A person with this need to feel needed and to be the constant support. That in all things and anything,
there is ALWAYS something I can do.

But as I wrestled with this question, wrestle with this idea… God revealed his truth:

I took on roles that were never mine to fill:

I was never meant to be the head of the household.
I was never meant to be the protector of my family.
I was never meant to the emotional support for my parents.
I was never meant to be the wife for my father or the husband for my mother.
I was never meant to be the mother for my brother.
And ultimately, I was never meant to be the replacement of God on earth.

One of the main roles described in Scripture is “Father and Child”
He is our Father and we are his children.

Doesn’t matter how old you are, doesn’t matter how mature and how “adult” you are, God calls you His child even at the age of 100.

Some of us think we can outgrow our parents and some of us take on the responsibility to care for our parents. As our parents get older, the roles seem to flip.

But do we outgrow God? Now that we are adults, does our roles flip with God as well?

Since we know more than before
We are more wiser and confident.
We’ve lived this life a little longer.
We know what is best.

But I always seem to forget the obvious truth about God:

He is GOD.
Not a human. GOD.
Not some elderly Spirit. GOD.
A divine, supernatural Spirit we can’t figure out or understand.
A divine, supernatural Person who adopts us, calls us his own, hold us with great love

Because we are his Child.

So let me ask you once again, what is the role of a child?

In this season, God has been redefining and restoring these roles for me.
As I come to recognize, now as an adult, the sovereignty of God;
what it means to be a CHILD of God and He is my FATHER.

Scripture says:

  • He will lead you, guide you
  • He will teach you
  • He will discipline you
  • He will help you. 
  • He will provide all your needs
  • He will protect you and give you rest.
  • He will rescue you, save you.
  • He has plans that will prosper you and not harm you.
  • He loves us more than we can ever comprehend.

Why? Because that is what the Father does. This is who He is: A Good, Good Father. It is who He is.

And I am a child of God.

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