My teenage son has grown around 10 inches over the past two years. I was reminded of this when he found me in our pantry this morning. I was about to climb up on the first shelf, making it possible for me to reach the top where a box of kleenex was located. Before I could begin my climb, my son walked in. I looked at him, then at the kleenex, and finally asked if he could get them for me. He walked over, reached up, and grabbed them in a nonchalant, “I’m taller than you.” kinda way.
Years ago he was the one climbing up the shelves in his closet to reach the boardgames on the top shelf. Now our roles have been reversed, and I find myself consciously trying to adjust to it. I’m no longer the mom to a child; I’m the mom to a young man. This isn’t the only relationship I’ve had to make this kind of adjustment in.
I’ve known of the Holy Spirit for as long as I can remember, as I grew up in a Christian home. But during the last 20 years something has changed. He began “growing” in front of me by leaps and bounds, just as my son has.
In the past I carried the Holy Spirit around like a toddler - someone I loved but didn’t expect to do too much. I took on the responsibilities, not fully understanding how big and powerful He actually is. In time I discovered the Holy Spirit desired to reverse those roles - He was meant to carry and help me - and He WANTED to!
This became increasingly obvious as I learned more about Him. Books, speakers, and God’s Word grew my understanding. There are many more, but here are a few verses that shed light on Him and His identity:
The Helper (Comforter, Advocate,...) - John 14:16 Amplified
The Counselor - John 14:26
The Spirit of truth - John 15:26
The Spirit of wisdom and revelation - Ephesians 1:17
The source of our power - Acts 1:8
When we have occupied a certain role, it can be a process to surrender it and everything it entails to someone else. A year or two ago I was struggling to open a jar in my kitchen when my son extended his arm across the counter and said to give it to him. I had to stifle a laugh as I thought to myself, “Yeah, right. If I can’t open it, you sure can’t.” But I handed him the jar anyway. He took the jar and with one swift, strong motion opened it in front of me. As he slid the jar back, I knew we were entering a new season and things were going to change.
My friends who have adult sons share lessons they learned while embracing the change in their roles and parenting. Not only is it encouraging to me, but it saves me time and energy discovering all these things on my own. Likewise, although I don’t have it all figured out, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned about surrendering to the Holy Spirit and His help. Hopefully, it will make the transition easier.
- Begin by simply inviting Him into your life, every part. Tell Him you want to grow a relationship with Him.
- Start each morning by thanking the Holy Spirit that He’s with you. Let Him be involved as you plan your day. Tell Him you welcome His guidance.
- Take a minute from time to time during the day to simply be mindful of the Holy Spirit’s Presence, giving Him an opportunity to speak to you.
- Pay attention when you come across a verse that mentions the Holy Spirit. What can you learn about Him? How is He referred to? What do you see Him doing?
- When you feel tired or overwhelmed, thank Him for His power and wisdom. Ask Him to help you give Him all the things you’ve been trying to do in your own strength. “Listen” for the helpful prompts/nudges/suggestions He brings to your mind.
- Ask for His input on simple things you encounter throughout the day. Then pay attention - what pops into your head after you ask Him? (Examples: What should I make for supper? Show me if I'm forgetting anything while at the grocery store.) This helps us remain more mindful of His Presence and keep our ears turned toward Him.
- Ask Him to help you identify anything you have taken on that He didn’t ask you to. Did you feel obligated or pressured into it? Did you do it to feel better about yourself? Did it just seem like a good thing to do? Then ask Him to help you make the adjustments you need to.
Do I miss those days when my son was little? Occasionally. But this is the healthy and right way for him and our relationship to grow. We also have to say good-bye to the days when we strived to be so self-reliant. It’s a healthy step of growth in our relationship with God. Acknowledging our need for the Holy Spirit doesn’t lessen our value - that’s found and secure in Christ. It shows we’re growing in our understanding of how awesome the Holy Spirit is and letting Him take His rightful place in our lives. As I no longer hesitate to give my son the jar I’m trying to open, but now seek him out to help me - may God help us seek out the Holy Spirit’s help and more easily release things into His capable hands.