Friday, October 7, 2011

Swimming Against The Current

There are days when I am just tired of "stuff". Especially the kind of parenting "stuff" that my Proverbs 31 devotion refers to today.

What is "stuff", you ask? Here are just a few examples of the minor things that fall into this category of "stuff" in our house:

- time consuming homework, resulting in occasional outbursts, followed by punishments for the evidence of a bad attitude about doing said homework
- stress over not understanding math, worsened by parental inability to help
- drama
- cheers and tears over boyfriends
- spending too much time on Facebook
- trying to make new friends, keep old friends, and fit in with all friends
- drama
- thwarted fashion choices
- unfair treatment in sports activities
- mean girls and their mean-girl tactics
- drama

(Did I say drama yet?)

And let's not forget a few of the major "stuff" topics, like:
- "Everybody else gets to watch that reality show, why cant I?"
- "Everybody else can stay out until 2:00am after the concert!"
- "Everyone else gets to go to the party, why cant I go?"
- "My friend's parents don't care what they do."
- "Everybody else I know doesn't even have a curfew."
- "Everybody else gets to stay up until 11:00pm on school nights?!"
- "Nobody else's mom cares about what they watch on TV, or if they have boys over, or if they wear immodest clothing, or if they stay out late, or if they don't take showers every daily, or if they text all night long, or if......."

I'll stop there - you get the picture. Everybody else seems to be allowed to do everything! I know that everybody else is not getting to do all the everythings they want, but there are certainly days when it honestly feels that way. Days when I think that if I hear the word "everybody else" one more time, I might actually implode, from the inside out.

Maybe you know the feeling, because you too have had your fill of the "everybody else" card being dealt by your sweet cherubs.

In fact, you may often feel like you are swimming upstream against a powerful current of hands-off-parenting that seems to be a growing trend in our society.

It is easy to understand why that style of parenting is becoming so popular... because it's easier. After all, who doesnt' want to avoid arguments, curfews, discipline and punishments if they can help it?

Life would definitely be much less stressful if we didn't worry about all the "stuff" that comes along with parenting, and instead just swam downstream effortlessly, being pushed by the current of what "everybody else" was doing.

However, the one thing that should set Christian parents apart from the worldly view of parenting, is the desire to faithfully persevere in parenting by relying on God's wisdom, not popular consensus.

To be in the world, but not of the world, and to be set apart - not set aside.

Proverbs 22:6 is a popular verse on the topic of parenting, which says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Training a child up in the way he should go does not stop when we leave the sanctuary. It is a call to pursue God's ways every day, even when that includes patiently and faithfully dealing with a never ending onslaught of "stuff".

We always have a choice in our parenting decisions to either go with the flow, or stand up for our beliefs.

When we take the hard swim, our kids will one day realize what a precious gift they were given by having a parent who was willing to swim against the current for them, and we will smile, knowing it was well worth the effort.

Will you take a stand for your faith today by committing to swim against the current, and be the Godly parent that God has called you to be?

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Karen said...

Tracie! Thank you! Your devotion and blog speak to me! This exact struggle has been on my heart for days now (if not weeks) and your words only confirm what I know to be true. Seek God's wisdom. That's what I've been doing. And today - your devotion. Good stuff!

Kim said...

Thank you, Tracie! You have no idea how much I needed this today! I can SO relate to your list! Emotional exhaustion is weighing heavy from dealing with the endless "stuff" my highly gifted 10-going-on-20 year old daughter is dealing with. Thank you for your words of conviction. Praying for wisdom and strength for mothers everywhere!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping it real Tracie. It does appear we are swimming up stream at times. Thank you for bringing God Word to this very real world of ours.

Pam said...

Helpful devotional and blog post today, Tracie. Emotional exhaustion is used by the enemy far too many times causing us parents to stumble. The Bible says we are to be aware of the devil's schemes and you have done just that through your devotional and post for today. God is using you to speak into my life right now and for that I am thankful.

Happy Fall!

Susan said...

Thank You, Tracie! Your post for today "Swimming Against The Current". This is encouraging for a weary soul fighting against worldly views. I had to take a couple steps back and realize how I had fallen prey to the ways of the world. This was the slap in the face I need to awaken me from my slumber. As I move about through life today I will refocus and reevaluate my thoughts and attitudes giving them over to God's way and not the ways of the world.

Kathy S. said...

Excellent devotion and post! My answer often was, "everyone else doesn't have a mom who loves them like I love you!" and the scripture appropriate to the occasion would be expressed if I had my wits about me! It also helps to have a partner (dad) to help each other stand firm in decisions. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tracie, did I need this today!!! Your devotional said the two words I have been feeling lately -- emotionally exhausted. Thank you for encouraging myself and all the other moms out there who feel like we are constantly swimming upstream. Your reminders that we need to stay plugged into God’s word and continue to lean on Him for guidance, wisdom, strength, and rest is essential to Godly parenting. With the Lord's help, we will persevere!!!

Christina said...

THANK YOU!!! What an encouragement this was to me today. As a single parent of 2 teen girls, I needed this. You are a blessing!

Laura said...

I don't know how many times my 11-yr-old daughter has already heard "If I didn't love you so much, I wouldn't care so much about what you do." Even when she's angry with me, that seems to make a difference to her.

In Christ,

Marie said...

Thank you, Tracie! I am a 41-year-old mom in her next to last quarter of college. I have a high school teaching job waiting on me if I pass all my courses this quarter and next---great if I wasn't failing algebra! My barely 14-year-old daughter is not allowed to date. However, I am pretty much the only parent with that rule in our area. I am constantly dealing with boys that she has encouraged to pursue a romantic relationship with her (she is majorly cute). She does not accept my rule because all her friends have boyfriends. Yesterday, I was suffering from emotional exhaustion and felt like just giving in and letting her go hew own way. I am tired of trying to stay one step ahead of her, the groundings, the lectures, etc. We are very involved in our church, but she has pulled away from the youth group because none of them are dating. She is saved and knows better. Your blog today has given me a much needed bit of energy to keep fighting the good fight. Please keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Tracie I definitely can relate to this and thanks so much for the encouragement. My oldest son is 21 and his curfew is 11:30 and he has repeatedly told us that his younger friends have a much later curfew. We just say we are sorry to hear that and were doing what we think is best.
It's reassuring to know that were not swimming against the current alone.