10 PROMISES FROM GOD TO LIFT YOUR SPIRITS!Read More
He simply would not listen.
His mom had been over and over and over the fact that dessert was not a given every night. That answer was not good enough for him. He pounded his fists on the table and burst into discontented tears. Mom hated the dinner-table battles and just wanted to have one meal in peace! Her strategies were simply not working.
In that moment, she had a choice: blow up in anger and give up or gently parent from a place of patience and kindness. That day, and the next, and the next.
By nature, I’m a “problem-solver." Are you too? Do you like to fix things? Make plans? Lists? Set goals?
It’s good to be a problem-solver. A fixer. Most of the time……
It’s great when you see a need for a Bible study or a book study and you help find a location and set up the meeting place so you can gather together.
It’s awesome when your child’s teacher needs supplies and you organize an email list to reach parents so you can all chip in and meet the need.
And it’s wonderful when your budget is tight and you figure out ways to save money as a family so that you have more breathing room.
It’s not so great to be a problem-solver when we are trying to change our children.
You see, that’s not our job as parents. We can never change their hearts. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit. Only God can fix them…and us:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
So often, we want to resolve our issues with our kids. We see that they talk back to us a lot, so we set out to silence them. They keep fighting with their brothers over electronics so we ban them from using their XBOX ever again. They refuse to obey us the first time we ask them to do something, so we resort to banishing them from our presence or worse—we yell and scream or scold and shame them.
God is clear about our role, and His, in the hearts and lives of our children:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
“Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)
“Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” (Proverbs 29:17)
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Overwhelmingly, the Bible instructs us to teach, train, and lovingly discipline (like a coach) our children. Never does the Bible say that we can fix their hearts. Some of us know that we can try every trick in the book, and still, our child will act out in behavior that we don’t approve of.
Yes, there are lots of practical tips and tools to help us get the parenting results we seek, and that’s all good if we are doing so with the right heart attitude, lovingly seeking to set our kids up for success and work through their sin issues or need for growth. But I think we need to shift our thinking and relieve ourselves from the stress of not being able to change our kids. That mindset will only frustrate us and lead to strife in our home.
We become our best selves as parents when we are faithful facilitators instead of fixers.
Here are 5 key thoughts that will help us when we feel frustrated with our kids:
1.) It takes a childhood to train a child. Elongate your timeline for expected changes and maturity. It takes a long time for US to learn new lessons too—how much more so for immature kids?
2.) There is nothing that anger can do that love can’t do better. Let that sink in for a moment…..
3.) We don’t offer grace often enough—be willing to set aside your fears that kids will “get away with something” if you lovingly grace them and give them what they don’t deserve. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
4.) Consequences are often necessary, but the tone and spirit with which you discipline makes all the difference. Ask yourself, have I given myself enough time and space to discipline with love in my heart and peaceful body language? If not, get your heart right, first. We correct children because we DELIGHT in them and LOVE them, not because we are personally offended, are tired of their behavior’s impact on us, or because we are angry: “For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12)
5.) Keep in mind that your role is not to shape or change your kids. It’s your role to FACSILITATE the opportunity for heart change by leading your children to the Lord and modeling a Godly example. Their behavior is theirs to bear and take ownership over.
Be a faithful facilitator, not a “fixer.” Keep running the race toward gentle and Biblical parenting, shirking off any unnecessary burdens that are not yours to bear, especially when it comes to your kids’ behavior. Prayerfully ask the Lord to search your heart to see if there is any parental behavior that needs to change so that you can be a peace-maker and leader in your home.
We have plenty to worry about with our own hearts, don’t we?
Give their hearts back to God, where they belong.
YOUR TURN: Do you have an underlying mindset that you want to change or fix your kids? What if your mindset shifted so that you think of yourself as a faithful facilitator, leaving the results up to your kids and God? What stood out to your the most from this post? Come join nearly 11,000 moms in my private Facebook group: No More Angry MOBS!
Do you have a child whose personality can rub you the wrong way and wear you out? Maybe your son or daughter is your exact opposite, or maybe they are so much like you that it's scary! Both scenarios can create battles of the will and exasperate both parents and kids.Read More
Last year, I had a bunch of credit from an online shop that sold high end sunglasses. Over the years, I went through my cheap shades as if they were disposable and I had been toying with the idea of buying a quality pair that would last.
With the money from cumulated gift certificates, I ordered a beautiful blue tortoise shell pair of uber chic Fendi glasses. It was one of the few big splurges I have ever made!
From the moment I put them on, I realized that all those years of wearing 5 dollar glasses had conditioned me to see the world in a subpar light. But these beauties were of such quality that I could see clearly and in perfect comfort-no more scratches and squinting. No more pinched skin on the bridge of my nose, or headaches from ill-fitting ear pieces. I didn’t have to view the beautiful sunny days around me in off color compromise because I could view them in the perfect balance of shade and light.
I hadn’t known what I was missing. I really did get what I paid for, in both cases.
It reminds me how much the way we view the world alters how we live our lives. When all we can see before us is an uphill battle, or defeating relationships, or messy rooms, then just about everything loses its luster.
When I was a teacher, I had a colleague who had emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba. Ignacio didn’t live a lavish life and he had plenty of trials that he could have focused on, but I never once, in the 7 years we worked side by side, heard him grumble or say a negative word about anything-no matter how small. He was so thankful to live a life of freedom and relative plenty as an American, that he never forgot where he came from and how blessed he was.
He also had a passionate love for Jesus Christ and few people shined brighter than Ignacio. When I think of the word contentment and joy the first image that comes to my mind is a smiling and kind-hearted Cuban man who often showed up at my door with an iced coffee or a sweet roll. I don’t see him as often as I would like to anymore, but I’ll never forget the example he was to me of how much our attitudes and perspectives will either imprison us in misery or free us to live life to the full as God intended.
Ignacio viewed the world through the lens of thankfulness and it made all the difference.
How about you and me?
Negativity and sorrow can be crushing not only to ourselves but to everyone around us. I bet you can think of someone that is a “joy robber”. You know, those people who you come away from feeling kind of “meh” or like you just had the wind taken out of your sails? Instead, we all have a conscious choice to focus on the good, count our blessings, and determine to say things that will build people up. It doesn’t mean we can’t be honest about our struggles, but the believer should always have a confident hope and joy that is contagious, despite hard times or challenges.
As parents, we can “huff and puff” all around the house sighing over this mess or that behavior and making everyone feel our displeasure. We can say that we want to show a Christ-like example to our kids and then grumble our way through each tiny obstacle in everyday living instead of serving our families with joy and gladness as an act of worship to Jesus Christ. It should never be like that for a mom or dad who is pursuing a love relationship with the Lord.
Here’s what the Bible has to say about it:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
My mother-in-law is a perfect example of this. After her husband of 30 years suddenly passed away, she endured several severe strokes that have left her in a wheel chair and in a convalescent home for nearly two decades. I have never heard her complain. She remains in bed most of the time now and yet she continues to talk about her love for Jesus and takes an interest in the wonderful things everyone else is doing outside the small walls of her shared bedroom. Even though she has never had the chance to push her grandkids on the swing or take a family vacation with us, she still shares our excitement and joy over our opportunities to do so as a family. It humbles me every time.
Our joyful and positive outlook on life can make or break the spirits of those around us but one thing is for sure. We waste our own lives when we have a negative mood that permeates our thinking. You and I have this one chance to take hope by the scruff of the neck and be a light that draws others (And our own kids!) towards us like a moth to the flame.
We want to leave a legacy of joy and hope for our children, not discouragement and oppression because of our attitudes and careless words. I wish that it was as easy as donning a pair of designer sunglasses but this kind of legacy involves doing some intentional heart work.
Do whatever it takes to commit to a more joyful outlook. Toss the mediocre lenses of your mind in the trash bin and upgrade them for a pair that gives you a more hopeful and accurate view of the world around you.
YOUR TURN: Would you consider yourself a “joy-robber”? Do all the little demands of everyday life get to you and steal your joy? What kinds of things work for you to keep your perspective balanced and Christ-centered? How do your kids respond when you are a happier mom or dad?
Let me know your thoughts in the COMMENTS and if this post blessed you, please share it with others!
P.S. This post contains an affiliate link and when you make a purchase through my link, I get a little credit at no extra charge to you and that helps my ministry-thank you!