by Noel Bouché
I recently realized there’s a phrase I hear my kids utter with some frequency. It’s one of those phrases that, once you pick up on it’s implications, is simultaneously encouraging and terrifying.
“Daddy always ________.”
Sometimes it’s something funny I “always” do, something idiosyncratic, something noble… and sometimes something negative, or selfish, or otherwise not worthy of praise.
But the implication is this: they are “always” watching, always observing. And they are learning through those observations.
It has been said that the test of one’s character is what you do when nobody’s watching you. I would amend that to: The test of your character is what you do when you think nobody’s watching you. Because the truth is that someone is always watching us—hence someone is always being impacted by the actions we take, the words we speak, the places we go, the websites we visit, that number of times we check our phone in an hour.
The thousand small choices we make matter, not only because they add up, but because they communicate much about what we believe, and Who or what we worship.
Parents can relate: Our children, without question, are always watching us, always listening, and always being formed by what they see and hear from us.
But in the same way all of us have influence, and our peers, coworkers, students, bosses, our neighbors, that stranger in the coffee shop, that one-time travel companion in the plane seat next to you, the software company watching every cursor movement and keystroke—all are being impacted and influenced by the choices we make and the patterns we live out.
As I said… both encouraging and terrifying.
But God “has not given us a spirit of fear”; indeed, He has given us the finished work of the cross on which we can build new, Spirit-empowered patterns formed by His grace lavishly poured out on us.
We call this the PURE Life—a pattern of living rooted in faith and defined by prayer (P), understanding (U), resolve (R), and engagement (E).
Prayer is intimacy with the Creator and Redeemer, an investment of time and focus that others cannot help but notice.
Understanding flows from that intimacy, fills our heart, informs our mind, and spills out through our words that connect us with others.
Resolve is the act of choosing, the internal decision to orient toward the newly received spiritual intimacy and divine understanding.
Engagement is the outcome of the choice—the outflow of thoughts through words and deeds that forms the visible, audible evidence of our internal life. The private life that we think no one sees, yet seeps out continually and congeals to form an embodiment of what we “always” do.
The pattern, this PURE life, proclaims not just who we are, but Whom we worship, to all around us. To the ones who are always watching.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta run… I’m trying to form a new pattern that my kids can memorialize with a new statement: “Daddy is always on time.”