How can I be certain genuine sensitivity is zipped into the teeth of my self-conscious mind’s motives? I don’t want my insecurities to jam my kids’ jackets. But that’s exactly what happens when I fail to spin inward. Selfish instincts fuel trauma.
Before I speak my mind in witness to my children, I SIFT, hoping to model the selfless love Christ extends to me.
“Concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc, regardless of others.” Dictionary.com
Piece by piece, the remnants of pushing my babies on their little blue swing were hauled away. With every disassembled section, hours of images blurred through my tears. The animal sound quizzes, songs about ABC’s, and tickling their knees wavered through my mind.
Human default lends the out-flow of our actions to be inwardly influenced. Watching my children grow, I worry I’ve failed them, often becoming hyper-focused on the mistakes I’ve made.
My kids sift through their mistakes to the tune of their parent’s habits. Our oldest daughter is always right and never admits fault, and the youngest thinks it’s always her fault because she’s a terrible person. #parentfail
“We have different gifts according to the grace given us.”-Romans 12:6a
Gifts can be sifted to unearth seeds of growth and potential. It’s selfish to focus on every mistake when so much can be learned from each character trait. Instead of grabbing for the seam ripper, reach for each unique thread of joy sewn into you. Accepting the full spectrum God’s granted us is a healthy vision of what’s actually happening.
The daughter that always feels at fault is always trying to improve and be better, just like her momma. The daughter that stubbornly doesn’t let drama deter her is calm in the midst of chaos like her dad. In Christ, we’re aligned with whom He knows we already are.
“An inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.” -Dictionary.com
I wondered what was going through my Kindergartner’s mind as she pressed her head against the window and watched a piece of her childhood leave the lawn.
“YES!!!!!!!” she shrieked with glee, “IT’S TRAMPOLINE TIME!!!!!”
“Lauren, that’s an awful thing to say,” I snapped, “aren’t you sad to see it go?”
I should have applauded her positive turn of the page, but I let my failed wish to share a few tears with her negate that she reacted wrong. It’s hard to avoid self-critical cycles listening to my echo nag.
When the instinctive urge to be overly critical creeps up, I’m often symptomatically ready to snap. At the end of the day at the end of the week, I am emotionally at the end of my rope. A deep breath can place the urge lash out on the back burner. No matter how I yearn for the scene play, unexpected blessing is always laced within.
Trying times beg for the justice of Jesus, and the guidance of God’s great grace. The Holy Spirit is able to redirect our instincts to Christ before we rearrange our kid’s self-esteem. It’s hard to fight the parental instinct to harp, but God seeks to bless brave steps. (John 14: 15-17)
“Something that gives nourishment…sustains or encourages; stimulant.” -Dictionary.com
Sunday was trampoline assembly day, and my girls came bounding out in their pajamas to jump. I trekked back inside to the sound of gleeful cackles as my husband took the big empty box to the curb. Fear and worry pushed the nostalgic lump out of my throat. And just like that, they grew up a little more.
I don’t have a natural urge to let my kids go and grow. Though my first instinct is always to grasp firm, Christ reminds me He’s already holding on. The Spirit He left advocates peace to fight the fear that our flesh fuels. So, I can fill up my tank with thankfulness and trust, and let the joy of Jesus reign over the “letting go’s” of my life.
“If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Romans 12:6b
This verse is a picture of playing in the pocket. The gifts God gave us individually launch us into the people …and the parents …we’re meant to be. Kids need to understand how to react to difficulty by tapping into their strengths rather than wallowing in a weak spot. One of my favorite pastors recently preached on efforts to live out just one verse of the Bible instead of trying to learn the whole thing. I choose to let 1 Thes. 5:16, and who I am, fuel my life with joy.
“Be joyful always.” 1 Thes. 5:16
“A body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury …an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.” -Dictionary.com
…and then one of them flew right back out.
My Kindergartner landed smack on her back. Shrieking and covered in mulch, the scene of checking symptoms engulfed the kitchen.
“How could we have let this happen?” I said to my husband.
My natural inclination to roll over every insecure thought causes me to misconstrue, misinterpret …and just plain miss stuff.
LIKE ZIPPING UP THE SAFETY ZIPPER!!!
I guarantee I was applauding myself for pressing my husband to get the thing built before sundown …or mulling over the weekend’s lot of conversations with friends to check for anything stupid I should be embarrassed about. Of all the warnings I give my children to heed, the most obvious preventions leak right out of my own insecurities.
The devil tries to traumatize us so that we jump around in doubt rather than with a clear conscious to contribute to the world around us. I am equipped to encourage my kids, even after they’ve flown out of the trampoline on my watch, because of the traumatic scars Jesus survived. We can fuel the fire of our selfish instincts, or fan Christ’s flame of hope in our hearts. The capability is there. The choice is ours.
“Examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful.” -Google
My kids don’t always witness the right reactions. I’m not always privy to patience. But, His grace renders this world’s trauma temporary. Let’s attempt to sift out all thoughts that don’t align with His truth.
“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and many.” Acts 24:16
Zip it up before you jump around.