Grabbing Whatcha Got
Parenting sometimes overwhelms me. So much stuff is changing, life evolving within and without all the time. Kids become preteens, teens start to drive, teens who drive start to date… it’s enough to wig you out if you’re not careful. It’s enough to cause you to feel so inadequate you might be tempted to throw your hands up and just let life happen. What will be will be!
But, after a good nights sleep and refreshment in the scriptures, a bit of commuter-time prayer and suddenly, the clouds part and I can start to see blue sky peeking through. I’m reminded of the truth in all of this turbulence, the facts as they were, such as the reassuring reminder that God isn’t taunting us.
He’s not placing us specifically in the role of parent, protector, mentor and friend to our kids, only to absently walk away and from a safe distance, sheepishly grin to Himself as we drive everyone in our family right off a proverbial life cliff, frantically swerving and braking all the way to avoid the oncoming life issues directly in lane ahead….
One of my temptations is to look only at what I don’t have, to focus exclusively on the things in my life that are not going well, that are not progressing as I would like them to. As a parent, I do the same dang exact thing with my kids. I look for their weaknesses, their flaws, their inconsistencies. Initially I don’t feel I’m being harsh or negative, just “pragmatic," focusing on the things that we all could strive to “improve on." Sound familiar?
Still not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a quick check to see if this is you. Are most of the real talks you have with your kids a sermon-like narrative of another very important “Life Lesson”? If your kids and spouse say yes, then it’s time to CHILL (your vote doesn’t count).
It boils down to this soul-searching question: Are we searching more for what we have missed with our kids than what can be found? Obsessing over the lingering doubts of there being something unknown in our kids lives, something we missed? A threat, that’s dormant and undiscovered, aggravating and undefinable, a possibility that life MIGHT go wrong for them? Some nebulous problem we’re determined to prevent, even if it exhausts us or in the end…never actually existed at all?
I’m done running harder and sleeping less. It’s time to shift my gears and start looking at what is right in front of me, today. I’m ignoring the stuff in the past, and I’m not fixating on some fantasy dream of what the future should be. NOPE, I’m stopping to smell the roses right now, slowing it down to remember how precious it all is in the here and now.
The Bible says it this way…
(The Message- Bible Gateway.com) Matthew 11: 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Maybe some of us have long ago learned and applied this truth… maybe some of you have a great story or testimony of how God helped you overcome the feelings of being inadequate as a parent, of learning to rest in your best and trust in God’s grace? Or maybe it’s like many life truths… it comes around in waves and cycles with ever-deepening intensity and understanding as we navigate each season of living it out.
How do you, as a parent, focus on the what you have and let go of the what you have nots in life?
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