Flourishing. If you were to draw or paint a picture that expresses the word, “flourishing,” what would you include? I don’t paint or draw but my mind is drawn to Garrapata where I’ve hiked in Big Sur after an El Nino season; a place filled with lush wildflowers of every color, streams of water splashing over rocks, towering redwood trees shading the path with greenery and me, attempting to drink it all in, enabled in the moment to be fully present.
This is the setting I imagine when I think of Adam and Eve as they experience garden life in the beginning. But there was a precedent to this story of beginning that has BIG meaning for us as we continue our search to guide the children in our lives to a life that flourishes.
As we read the narrative in Genesis 1, further informed by descriptions found in John 1, we learn that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit existed in an eternal exchange of love; love poured out from one to the other, giving and receiving generative, self-giving love. John the apostle states it simply, “God IS love.”
This infinite love overflowed into creation’s beauty: the vast ocean, the exotic flowers, the towering mountains, sun, moon and stars and the crazy diversity of wildlife. But God’s culminating act of creative love was the creation of the human person.
The source of our existence as human persons is the generous, generative love of God. It is no wonder that we long for a love that only God can satisfy. We see Jesus conversing with a woman in John 4 who had unsuccessfully sought love in disappointing human relationships. He invited her to Himself as the only source of love that would satisfy her thirst. CS Lewis explains, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” We flourish when we pursue what it is that we really long for, what we were made for: participation with God in His eternal exchange of love.
This is the vision that will bring us all life. If we aren’t intentional about finding the way to flourishing rather than living by the default systems informed by people in the world around us, it’s easy to make the mistake of living by a set of rules. Perhaps this is the fastest and simplest route to appearing as if we’re finding our way. However, it’s not sustainable. A set of rules can never satisfy that deepest longing in our hearts for the Source of love. We must determine to do the work of teaching our children to pursue the quenching of their thirst in Jesus’ love rather than presenting them with a set of rules to live by. We must teach our children to live out of the vision of what they were made for.
If we’re looking for a quick and easy way to get through this uncomfortable conversation about the body, sex and relationships with the kids in our lives, this is not the way. Yet we all desire to invest in kids in a way that will give them long term direction when they move out of the range of our control.
We must begin by reshaping THE conversation with vision casting. So how then does all of this vision casting discussion help us move to our destination- a place where our children will land and make choices that will move them toward the flourishing life that Jesus is offering them? We invite you to join us on this journey. As we travel together, our destination will become more clear. Not only that, but we really believe that we will uncover the beauty and goodness of God’s vision for our bodies, sex and relationships that will draw our children to the love and life God is inviting them to in an irresistible way.