Though my daughter’s hurt becomes a mirror of my verbal tone and words if I will only look. It’s easier to point a finger and want the world to adjust, than to peer closely at the impact I am making. If I followed the rumblings that reverberate from the relational hiccups in my life, I could learn a great deal.
When the kids were very young and I was surviving on little sleep and even less patience, every difficulty was clouded by my peering through a faulty lens of perfectionism and fear. Was I parenting well? Were my children being scarred by my outbursts of frustration?
My frustration hinged on flawed thinking. If only they would behave differently, obey what I’d said for the four hundredth time, then I wouldn’t be mad, they wouldn’t be scared and I wouldn’t have guilt.
It took a long time for me to recognize that I was the epicenter of every earthquake in my life. I was the center of all my frustrations.
It seemed if the morning started with negativity, there were rumbling aftershocks that littered the day. They started with my attitudes. My responses to my children’s imperfections. (This doesn’t just apply to our children, it can be our spouse, co-worker, or the guy who cut us off in traffic. )
Peaceful relationship begins with my ability to smile with warmth and genuine care no matter the magnitude of the quake. Whether it be a messy mistake like forgetting to take the dog potty outside, or a heart issue like lying about brushing their teeth.
It’s very important to distinguish between mistakes and sin. A mistake is made without intent to cause harm. Mistakes can be messy, and may need your child or partner’s help to clean up. But mistakes should never be punished no matter how difficult they make life. A heart issue on the other hand may look benign but needs to be deal with. Heart issues that aren’t dealt with becomes character issues that can lead to lifelong difficulty.
Mistake Issue – i.e. your boys are playing baseball in the yard and hit a ball through the neighbor’s window. Mistake. You may be embarrassed, but it’s not a punishable offense. The boys will need to scrape their pennies together and mow some lawns to pay for it, but there was no intent to cause harm, so no heart issue to deal with. Educating them on where they can play baseball in the future is different than punishing a mistake.
Sin/Heart Issue – i.e. you told the boys to mow the yard and do some weeding before they played baseball. They chose to skip the work and go straight for the fun…and broke the neighbor’s window. The window still isn’t a punishable offense (unless they were aiming for it). The sin is disobeying and not doing the yard work.
So, how do we genuinely feel love and warm fuzzies when chasos reigns in our garden? It starts with our connection to Love. We have to be so filled with Him that His peace and love fill us and flow through us to others.
We are uniquely created so there is no formula to what that looks like for each of us. I have a friend who listens to praise music on her way to work and this is her time with Jesus. God’s been showing me that it doesn’t take much to get filled up. It usually just takes a revelation of how loved we are by Him. That can happen in one millisecond during one refrain of a song, or from one verse in the Bible that God uses to ignite your heart. There is no formula to closeness. It’s time and connection that creates intimacy with the one we love.
What is your favorite way of connecting with God?