These last four years have been quite a journey. Raising children is no easy task and it’s not for the faint of heart.
We are so thankful that God is the one in charge and not us! We made many mistakes, thinking at the time we were doing the right thing. Our children’s best was usually on our minds, though sometimes I did want to throw in the towel.
Two graduations down!
Two graduations in the month of May are now behind us—it’s time to reflect.
Our 24-year-old son graduated from college with a degree in percussion. He is pursuing working, with his main focus on writing music and performing. He’s taking time off of his education before he decides if he wants to pursue a Masters Degree. We couldn’t be more proud of him, not so much of his accomplishments but of the young man he has become.
Our third child, Ryan, graduated from high school and we are breathing a sigh of relief. It’s been a long haul—one, which I’m thankful, is over. As he’s an adult, most of his decisions are now on him and I don’t need to remind him at 10:00 if he did his homework.
My mood did not need to reflect my son’s performance.
I can laugh now, though at times all I wanted to do was cry. When your kids struggle, the tendency is to look at your self and see where you went wrong. That’s what I tended to do.
This year I learned, with the help of some great gals, that I didn’t need to carry that baggage. My son was making his own decisions and they were not dependent on me. If he got an A on a test, then yeah! But if he forgot to do homework and got a 0, then my mood didn’t have to reflect on his performance.
I think we carry baggage around too much and too often.
We give our children too much power.
The Old Way is to be responsible for everything my children do, good and bad. Feel good when they do well, and feel bad when they don’t. That’s a big load to carry around and try to manage. Not only is it too much to manage, but we give our children too much power.
I’ve been learning to think of the New Way, as Larry Crabb terms it in his book, “The Pressure’s Off.” The New Way is that I’m not responsible for everything that goes on around me. If my son is mad at me today, his mood doesn’t need to determine my own mood and my own reactions. The New Way is for me to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.
What does it look like to walk in the Spirit? Live in the Spirit?
It means to live in freedom. To live in the freedom that Christ died for us and we are no longer living in the bondage of sin, or the Old Way. We have the freedom to choose. We have the freedom to not let someone else determine how I will act or feel.
It seems like such a simple matter, but really, how often do we live in freedom?
Is my goal to please everyone?
I lived so many years trying to please my mother, and that migrated to pleasing my husband, which naturally moved to pleasing my children. When my goal became that I had to do whatever I needed to do to please the important people in my life, I was in bondage. I did not live in freedom as Christ intended.
To do whatever it takes to please others is the Old Way. To live according to the flesh. To live life my way, by my own terms and carrying the baggage myself. I was responsible. What did I need to do to get it right?
There was an action required on my end to even please God.
The New Way is there is nothing I can do to please others.
My goal is no longer to live just to please— to no longer always please other people in my life.
Or is my goal to please Christ and Him only?
My purpose is to please Christ and Him only. When that is my purpose, my striving to do it my way, in my own power diminishes. I can then live in the power of the Holy Spirit. I can then live in freedom. I am no longer in bondage. I am free.
As my son has graduated from high school, it frees me up to let him make his own decisions. Go to college now? Or work instead for a year? Stay at the local college for a year and then move on to a university? While these are great questions and eventually need an answer, it’s freeing to me I have the privilege to let our son decide and choose. He now has the choice to decide for himself.
Let us not continue to carry the excess baggage.
My prayer for myself and those who choose to journey with me, is not to let us continue to carry this excess baggage we feel compelled to load on ourselves. Are we striving to please others, because we think that’s what we’re suppose to do? We then find ourselves in a hole, one which we’ve dug, because the pleasing never ends. I pray we can give it all up and strive to please the one who really matters. Jesus.
Let us strive to please Jesus.
It sounds so simple doesn’t it?
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)
Raising kids is not for the faint of heart.
Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart either.