We all have them.
I hate mine.
But oh how I love mine.
Wait? I really do hate mine.
But sometimes I act like I truly love mine.
That's the problem. They are constantly pulling on me, and I'm constantly trying to lose them.
Recently our pastor, Matt Carter, has been speaking on idols. How we have things in our life that take the place of our God. In one sermon he listed out four ways we could identify our idols. I was pretty certain I would struggle with one, maybe two on a really bad day. After he listed them I'm pretty sure I'm batting 1,000. 4 for 4 people. That's how screwed up I am!
Watch this video when you have 42 mintues. You won't regret it. Or download the podcast so you can listen while you are stuck in traffic.
Counterfeit Love: Idols Identified from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.
This morning my control idol raged and took down one of my kids with it. I like to be in control of things. When my kids are obeying I feel in control. When my kids are doing just as I ask I feel in control. I like control.
I hate feeling out of control.
That's maybe why God has so graciously allowed me to be the mommy to a very fabulous 6 year old boy who came home to us hurting and needing power and control as well. He pushes my control button and I think I push his. We are a great match.
Let me say this one thing and then I'm back to this morning … I didn't get up before my kids. They woke me up. This morning was chaotic. I'm fully convinced this morning would have looked completely different had I been disciplined in the act of waking up “for” my kids and not “to” my kids. Okay. I screwed up. I know this. I'm basking in God's grace to me today. New mercies every morning!
I won't tell you what brought out the actions in Amos, but I asked him to do something (not out of the ordinary, he has to do this a lot – part of morning routine!) and he was pissed and not having it. Stomped his feet. Folded his arms. Rolled his eyes. Refused.
Oh can you feel my control idol raging. I do not like feeling out of control. When a kid acts this way I feel as all control is gone. Gone. I'm losing. I must win.
Fast forward 30 minutes and I won alright, but there were many tears, and one kid very late to school. I won. I didn't care about his heart. I won.
Amos got off to school and all was fine. We were happy with each other and the drama was over. I had won. At least I thought I had won. My winning came at the expense of Amos, and him not getting a heart lesson, and only a “YOU WILL DO AS I SAY, OR ELSE” lesson. Yuck. Yes my control idol flared. I needed to feel in control. I accomplished feeling that control at the expense of not parenting my child's heart and only demanding the appropriate actions.
I actually lost.
Unfortunately so did Amos.
0-0 for both of us. No one wins.
So … I called Aaron and my girlfriend and talked it through. I need control. The thing is I also need to parent my child correctly. I truly want that too. I need to view having control of my child differently. I need to not feel out of control when a child doesn't obey, because aren't we here to help them when they make bad choices? Aren't we here to help their hearts learn to trust and love? Aren't we here to help them learn to obey out of the over-flow of their heart and not just so mom doesn't yell?
I missed it this morning.
After I talked it through I told Aaron, that I was choosing to accept God's grace. Admitting that I screwed up and that I should have handled it differently, and I wouldn't walk around defeated today. I would ask God to clearly help me when this raging need for control rises in me. I would ask God to help me parent my child out of love and through the love of Christ and not my need to look good with “perfect” children.
Parenting a child that has entered your home via adoption is a bit different. God is molding me each day through this. Next time this happens, probably today at some point, I'm going to realize that my need for control can not be bigger than my desire to love my kids with all I have and parent them well. That's my true desire. That's what I want.
Oh Lord help us parents to parent well. Help us to show grace as you show grace to us. Help us to love as you have loved us. Help us to guide as you guide us. Help us lay down ourselves for those around us. Help us lean into you when our need for control rises up in us. Help us to trust in your plan and your goodness and your faithfulness.
Gosh I love my kids.
Thanks for posting this. I can’t watch the video because our connection in Haiti is not great, but I love what you were writing about. Have you ever read through Boundaries? They have a series, but this was the starter book. It’s fabulous. The focus is about boundaries in our lives, how to set them, have healthy ones, respect others etc. I read it a long time ago, before I was ever married, but am reading through it again, and it’s amazing how much I’m gleaning as a parent. The whole realization that I can only control myself, and that as a parent I can teach my children boundaries, but part of that is giving them choices and teaching them that their choices with have consequences, good or bad. Those heart lessons you were talking about. I think you’d really appreciate a lot of what’s in there.
i struggle daily with teaching my child to honor mom and dad with their good choices and i wrestle with the boundaries between controlling the child and discipline……..my 5 year old who was adopted is passive aggressive…he will hunger strike……stand naked freezing…..choose to be miserable because he knows i want him to be happy……..his control is to push my buttons…to see me angry likes he feels…………so i know what it is like to have a kiddo who’s motive all day is just to get you mad….it is tiring…..it is hard…..especially if you are the punching bag as most mommas are………..i need to remind myself that we both deserve grace everyone morning…….i am never going to be perfect for this child…..but God is teaching me much about loving without condition………and He knows our true desires…..He knows……
Oh Jamie, I so identify with this!! I needed to read this! I struggle with this same issue and find that sometimes I am honestly more of a child than my children are when I want control and so do they. I will keep you in my prayers and hope you will pray for me too!