3 Life Lessons I Didn’t Expect to Learn from My Daughter on Vacation

I got way more than I bargained for on a recent vacation. Disney and my younger daughter taught me three life lessons I didn’t expect to learn. Life is funny that way—we learn in ways we never expected.

Here’s what she taught me and how you can apply it to your own life.

Life Lessons Learned From My Daughter

1. She taught me to trust the planner.

On vacation, my daughter trusted that I knew where we were going, I had her maximum enjoyment in mind, and I would get her where she needed to go. Not once did she second-guess my plans.

Trusting the Planner with a capital “P” is much harder for me than it was for my daughter to trust her planner-mama.

We don’t understand His plan, so we second-guess if there’s a quicker/easier route to go instead and often wonder how it all fits together.

But our lack of trust doesn’t influence the character of our God. He is still good, omniscient, and trustworthy. He knows the plans He has for us, and He’s intimately aware of every detail.

2. She taught me not to be shy about sharing needs.

On day three of four, our daughter sat down in the middle of the walkway outside the Dumbo ride.

“I’m tired,” she whined, “I just can’t walk a-n-y-m-o-r-e. I need a break!”

While I didn’t love that she just plopped herself down in the middle of the street, I did love that she shared what she needed. She didn’t comment passive-aggressively on the demanding pace I’d set—she directly shared what she needed.

Sharing my needs with God and others is harder for me than it was our daughter.

We want to come across as self-sufficient so we don’t reach out even when we feel like we’re drowning. We’re so accustomed to our game-face that we forget what it feels like to be face-down before God. We worry that others will think we’re weak, incompetent, incapable, or insufficient, so we soldier on.

But our hesitancy to share our needs doesn’t influence the character of our God. He’s still capable of hearing us, seeing us, and loving us. He’s always on our side, always ready to help, and always welcoming us in our time of need.

3. She taught me do what makes you come alive even if no one else does it with you.

At Magic Kingdom, our youngest took Balloo’s hand and did the hand jive during the daily parade. She was out in the middle just dancing away. She didn’t care who was (or wasn’t) with her or how she looked, she just danced.

Doing what makes me come alive is harder for me than it was for our daughter.

We’re worried we’ll look stupid chasing our dreams. We wonder if we’re doing the right thing—a.k.a. what everyone else seems to be doing—because it’s easier to deny our gifts when they’re not trendy. We cast aside our passions because no one else seems to care. We don’t want to be the outlier.

But our fear of doing what makes us come alive doesn’t influence the character of our God. He’ll eternally pursue and gently nudge us so we can meet the world’s gaps with the gifts He’s given. He uniquely wired us to go out and be His hands and feet in ways only we can.

So friends, how can we apply these life lessons to our right-now lives? Here are remembrances for each of us:

We learn to trust the ultimate Planner when we remember that we are sheep and God is our Good Shepherd.

Our Shepherd can see all things, including our part in His historical and global puzzle. We can trust that He knows our insufficiencies and fills in all the gaps for our good. Let’s ask Him to partner with us so that the truth we know in our heads can trickle down to our hearts.

We learn to share what we need when we remember that God is the only one without needs.

When we ignore our own needs, we ignore an invitation from God to draw close to Him. When we believe that our needs are unimportant, we miss an opportunity to come to God in prayer and allow ourselves to be comforted. Let’s ask Him to bring to mind a need we have so we can kindly share it with those who can help.

We learn to do what makes us come alive when we remember that God hand-crafted a role just for us, and our job is to receive it.

Obeying Him by doing what He created us to do is one way that people see Christ shining through us. Let’s be who we most fully are and come alive. Let’s ask Him to give us the courage we need to do what He’s designed us to do.

Sometimes it takes a vacation and an elementary-school kid to learn these three life lessons. God can use any situation or person to remind us that the ultimate Planner is trustworthy, that He’s the only One who is all-sufficient, and that He loves when we do what makes us come fully alive.

***A version of this post originally appeared on jillemccormick.com, published with permission. 

Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick is the writer behind jillemccormick.com, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with the try-hard girl. Jill’s married to her high school sweetheart Ryan. They live in South Texas with their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast in her ears. She starts and ends everyday with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.

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