"Do, or do not... there is no try"
Every time I hear Yoda speak the above words, whether I'm sitting with the boys over a bowl of popcorn or washing dishes in the kitchen behind the couch, this simple charge always grabs me. For how often have I said, or heard another Mama say, "I'm trying to be more patient... I need to try to stay calm and not get so angry with my kids... I try and I try to be more respectful of my husband... I'm trying to not talk on the cell phone when I'm at the park with my children... Trying... Trying... Trying..."
After a certain amount of failed attempts, I think it's time we finally say "ENOUGH!"? But then what? What do we do when all the trying has left us tried out? And the angry words, crying eyes, and selfish ways remain? Remember now, I'm talking about us, not the children. So, what now?
There are two verses I think of and two applications that do not require intense Jedi training. The first charges us to take off the sin we see entangling us as we parent. And the second exhorts us to replace the sin with Godly character. While these are spiritual truths, the action required can be most physical.
!) Take off...
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1b)
2) Put on...
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
Ladies, we have talked to God and cried over our "trying" issues long enough. it's time to flex a little Holy muscle.
I am not suggesting that we can be saved by our own efforts in the darkest areas of our character and our parenting problems. I am, however, saying, that Christ in us gives us the strength, self-discipline, and grace we need to stop trying and actually do something about it. We are promised in His Word that we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens (us)" (Philippians 4:13) "That His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" (1 Peter 1:3) And that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness." (Romans 8:26)
So how do we commit to this redressing, as we set our minds and hearts and muscles with the sole purpose of clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience?
1) Confess -- Admit where you're off and doing wrong. Tell God that you know about it and can't "try" your way out of your bad behavior.
2) Ask -- That God would take our surrendered "Try" and add His mighty "Umph!" That by His Power we might Triumph in these areas of our lives.
3) Make a plan -- How can you logistically clothe yourself with a different response when your triggers are detonated by your children or your husband.
- If you're a yeller, then respond to all stressful situations with a gentle whisper. Or try time-outs (for yourself) when you are ready to blow. If the children are very young, let them know that "Mommy needs a time out because I'm so upset that I can't be kind with my words." Demonstrate what you are doing, so that they can learn how to deal with their own sin-tendencies in a positive way.
- If you're a door slammer... put a stuffed animal in every door frame so that all the doors are slightly ajar. When you're ready to slam 'em shut not only will they be in the way, but let them remind you that you cherish the children who cherish those little toys.
- If you're tendency is to detach yourself from the family in lieu of facebook or email, set boundaries for yourself. Just like your older children have to do their 15 minutes of reading before they get your phone to play "angry birds," do your own reading in God's Word for 15 minutes, and then get down on the floor for puzzle play and legos with the kids before you retreat for a little personal time at the keyboard.
- If all you want every day at 2pm, when the children start to whine, is a handful of chocolate... replace it with some other ritual. Even if the kids are to old to take consistent naps, 2pm (or whenever) can be their quiet playtime in their rooms, or their reading time with Mama in the old rocking chair, or the time of day to take a family walk with a great big water bottle to fill your grumbly tummy that longs for chocolate.
4) Press on.
Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)
The examples above may be silly compared to your own circumstances, but what I'm suggesting is that we DO something, rather than trying and trying and trying to make the evil go away without a plan.
We have The force on our side, Mamas. We do. And with Him... all things are possible for us to DO when He is our Master.
And to Him be the Glory! For we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
Welcome to those visiting me from Women Living Well!