Monday, October 21, 2013

Reactionary Parenting

“Ahhhhhh! Everyone just shut up!” Yes, that actually came out of my mouth towards my little ones. I am not proud of it. I was tired. No scratch that; I was exhausted. I was spiritually and emotionally fatigued with my kids: whining, slow obedience, settling disputes between my boys, consoling my teething baby, making meals, cleaning up after meals, taking my toddler to the potty…the list goes on and on. Let me say it again, I was exhausted.

As a result, I lost my cool. What should have resulted in a simple, direct, loving, but firm consequence was traded for an emotional outburst on my part. Mommy needed a time out. Mommy needed to go to a different room and talk (out loud) to God. I needed to do three things:

  1. Cast my cares upon him, and ask for his Holy Spirit to fill me up.
  2. Pray for my kids, and ask for forgiveness.
  3. Disciple on!

Moms, God’s word declares that we are supposed to cast our cares upon him because he cares for us. God already know what we are thinking, so we might as well tell him, ask for his peace, and leave the situation with him. Instead, I think we often run around mentally fatigued because while we are multi-tasking our minds are in several other places trying to figure out other problems that are totally unrelated to the many things we are currently working on. Whew!

We also need to ask for the Holy Spirit to fill us each day. So many days I get up and proceed with the affairs of the day and training up my kids for him without putting on the full armor of God described in Ephesians 6. I sometimes feel like the Holy Spirit is the forgotten third party of the Christian faith because we so often forget to ask for his help. There is a reason why the Jesus told his disciples not to go out and spread the Good News into all the world until they received the promised Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, all the wiring is there, but the electricity is not on—he is our power source.

Next, I needed to pray for my kids—not just a change in their behavior, but a change in their heart. I want them to embrace truth. I want to feed their character. I needed to model the character I am trying to instill in them (eh hem…self-control being one of them). Soooo, I also needed to ask God and my kids for forgiveness.

Lastly, I needed to accept God’s grace and disciple on, realizing that effectively discipling my kids meant that I would need to be purposeful and intentional. I needed a plan. My husband and I had to regroup and pray about precisely what consequences would follow certain negative behaviors. We need this plan to keep us focused on the mission of discipleship without being exasperated by our kids. We needed to be lovingly consistent. We needed to be proactive versus reactive.

A reactive parent simply responds to a kid’s actions based on their feelings at the moment. This could often lead to unintended and harmful results because we run the risk of letting our emotions carry us away. Being a proactive parent, however, is intentional, thoughtful, and self-controlled. This type of mom (or dad) is not easily swayed by a rebellious outburst, but remains in control of herself. I want to be that kind of mom, don’t you?


Heavenly Father,
You are the perfect example of a loving parent. You care for us so much. You are so intentional with us. You know our thoughts from afar. Please fill us with your Holy Spirit. May we model you to our kids. May we thrive as parents because of your great grace, and may we be full of the fruit of your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Verse to consider (and apply): But the fruit of the Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things. Galatians 5:22 (NLT)

Passage to read: Ephesians 6:10-20

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