So, I'm noticing lately how much I struggle with control. I like to have things my way. The strange thing is that God is showing me this through my oldest daughter. She fits the firstborn description pretty well. She's smart and motivated, and very much a perfectionist. She likes to have things just so, and if they aren't, she can get pretty emotional. It's silly how we can get into arguments about such little, unimportant things. A couple nights ago, as we were getting ready for bed, I told her to brush her teeth first before reading her book. But she wanted to read her book first and then brush her teeth. I didn't like that. But she didn't understand why it mattered so much. I told her because I said so. She got frustrated and started whining back at me pleading her case. But I wouldn't budge. I was going to win this battle! After all, I'm the parent and I'm in control! And yet at the end of the day (literally!), I was tired and she was tired ... and I responded to her in anger. I wanted her to be flexible and to not to have to be in control, but I was modeling the opposite: inflexibility and complete control! Thankfully, God brought both of us to a place of brokenness over our sin. I asked her to forgive me as I often forget that I am not in control ... I am not God. We talked about how God has put me as an authority over her for her good and that even when she doesn't understand why I'm asking her to do something, she is called to trust me and not argue to get her way. At yet at the same time, I told her that I need to release the control over things that don't really matter and really listen to her and her needs. In the end, I'm still the parent, but I don't have to be a dictator, I can be a loving shepherd by the grace of God.
You see, God is parenting me as I parent my kids. He's showing me that if I still struggle with control, why do I get so angry when my 8 year old daughter struggles with it? Why am I so impatient with her when God is so patient with me? If you're a parent that struggles with this let me share with you a book that has helped me. It's called, Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. Here's one quote worth meditating on:
I'm urging you to raise your children the way God raises His. The primary word that defines how God deals with His children is grace. Grace does not exclude obedience, respect, boundaries, or discipline, but it does determine the climate in which these important parts of parenting are carried out (p. 20).
- READ this related post: Learning to Let Go