Friday, April 5, 2013

Perfection Parenting

It's been a busy week, so I haven't done much writing.  I'm in what you would call a "growth" phase, so the words aren't coming as easily.  It is taking me more time than normal to process what I'm experiencing. 

Right now, I'm into the movement of the Spirit in finding freedom.  Not being changed for changing sake, but finding the freedom that comes from change.  I know there is nothing new under the sun, so this could be old news for you.  But I don't hear the freedom aspect of our faith talked about as much as the first two steps in faith: salvation and sanctification.  This freedom, or liberation, is what we find on the other side of those.  And that's where the Lord is has me.

Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, which means He has the solution to what holds us captive.  He can release those bonds that tie us to Earth and to the enemy's attacks.  We can go to Him.  We can be changed AND no longer react the way we used too.  When He breaks those bonds, they are broken for good.  We are new creations, so we can react in a new way - even to old things.

This really hits home in how I parent.  I've written A LOT about being Angry Mom.  I realized I was on that path 5 years ago - but ever since then, I've tried my darndest to quit being that way.  I've prayed and worked but nothing has stuck until a recent epiphany.  I was seeking a man-made solution to a spiritual problem.

The Lord showed me I have long been free from the bonds of anger.  Trouble is, I didn't realize it.  I was still acting like a captive. 

I was raised to live up to my potential.  It is good to challenge and push kids.  But I ingested that in my spirit as the way to earn my parents' love.  When I did well, they were proud and rewarded me.  Instead of living in the light of their constant love and care, I mistook the praise as love. Somewhere along the line I got the message that in order for my parents to love me, I had to be good, whatever form was required.  I heard the message that to strive was better than just being who I already was.  Perfect-Amy was way better than Just-Amy.  Don't get me wrong, my parents love me unconditionally, the error is mine.  I put conditions on receiving their love. 

As the old saying goes, the sins of the mother are passed down to her daughters.  I've taken those same conditions and put them on my girls.  For example, if they act right, do what I tell them and live up to my expectations in school, they are worthy of my love.  That's a too heavy burden to place on 9 and 6 year old.

But that's where all my anger came from.  I expected they would want my love, so they would act right.  Most of the time they did, they are great kids. But when they didn't, my reactions were often way more aggressive than they needed to be.  The punishment rarely fit the crime.

It's been a long journey of trying to figure this out on my own.  In the end though, I didn't have the solution.  I needed to see it from my Heavenly Father's perspective before real change stuck.  I never realized that to break the perfection parenting cycle, however it was created, meant to break out of the box I was trapped in.  I was meant to live and move and find my center in the wide-open air of the freedom I found in God's Love. 

I confessed & repented of my need to parent to perfection in order to give and show my girls love.  When I did that, I moved leaps and bounds towards wholeness.  In acknowledging God's complete love for me, I could see how incomplete my old way of parenting was.  Exposing that destructive pattern showed me I no longer have to do it that way.  I don't have to push, cajole and demand.  That's a clanging gong approach.  I don't have to raise my voice.  I still slip up but it is easier to see why.  I am learning how right the Apostle Paul was when he said there was a better way 1 Corinthians 12:31. 

The air in our house is a lot clearer.  There is a whole lot less noise pollution because I took what seemed like a tiny step towards more fully living the way God intended.  That tiny step created major waves.  I see my older girls no longer worrying whether or not I love them because they messed up.  They know that I do, even when I have to correct them.  

Knowing about freedom and wanting it more than I want "my way or the highway" is 90% of the battle.  Being aware of my tendencies to react like the old-me-before-I-was-free allows me to practice bringing every thought under the glare of Christ's microscope.  When I shine the light of God's Word into my mind, it's pretty easy to tell the lie from the truth. 

I'm discovering Jesus is as much my Savior as my Liberator.  No doubt there is much more change to come because of this newly realized freedom living.  Step by step, I can take back territory from the enemy.  I can move farther into the Promised Land of the Abundant Life in Christ. 

I can't wait to live more fully in all the blessings that come from being a child of God. 

(If you are interested in learning more about living out the freedom Christ gives us, Henry Nouwen has two excellent resources that are easy to absorb.  They aren't huge volumes either - they are pretty short but material you will constantly go back too.  Check out Life of the Beloved and Here and Now: Living in the Spirit.)

No comments: