Choosing Your Battles

Sometimes when I think of all the things I want our daughter to learn by the time she hits adulthood (in four short years) it can get overwhelming. How do I know if I’m doing enough? Too much? Perhaps not the right thing? Ultimately, it comes to prayer, surrender, and trust. Each day, as I lay our daughter in God’s hands, asking Him to speak to my heart, to guide me as I seek to guide our daughter, I commit to following His will, no matter where that leads.

This hasn’t always been easy. In fact, there’s been times when it’s been very painful. Our family has been through many difficulties. I’m sure you all could say the same. As a mom, how I wish I could shelter our daughter from every struggle…but without adversity, what kind of adult would she grow to be?

Here’s the thing. Our sinful nature centers around ourselves and our children. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way advocating parental apathy or callous. God is a God of love and mercy and if we are truly followers of Christ, our actions will be dominated by love.

But…God came not to be served, but instead, to serve and to give His life as ransom for many. As parents, our first goal is not to raise up the next CEO or billionaire. Our goal is to train fully devoted followers of Christ. A daunting task at times, especially when those teen years hit and you’ve gotta grit your teeth and hand off the baton.

The cool thing is, God’s got it covered. He’s responsible for training, raising, guiding and equipping your child. You’re responsible for one thing: obedience. And if you are continually following God’s leading in surrendered obedience, when your child rebels, they aren’t rebelling against you. They’re rebelling against God.

It’s important that you convey that. And it’s important that you live that. Meaning, bring it back to the Scriptural level and choose your battles very carefully. If God’s Word doesn’t take a clear stand on an issue, maybe you shouldn’t either. But when God gives a clear command, instruct it with diligence, taking care to explain why. You want your child to be respectful not because it makes you happy, but because God commands it and because your child’s behavior has an impact on their witness.

Otherwise the issue, whatever it is, becomes about you and your child. And since most parents know absolutely nothing until their child hits about 30, that’s a losing battle. A subjective battle. It comes down to one person’s opinion vs. another.

But…step out of the ring and point your child back to God…now that’s a different story.

They still may rebel, but again, when they do, they’re rebelling against God, not you.

And consider throwing most of the other battles away. Here’s an example. About three years ago our daughter came to us and asked to get her ears pierced. I really struggled with this, primarily because I am very opposed to the whole appearance-oriented thing. We want our daughter to focus more on her inner qualities than her outward…and perhaps I went a bit overboard.

So how did our daughter convince us of her position? She respectfully pointed out that there wasn’t anything in the Bible that said she shouldn’t. After listening, I realized she was right. So, I stepped off my battle mound and took her to the mall.

What battles are you facing today? What does the Bible have to say about them? And how might the interactions with your child change if you brought everything back to the Scriptural level, explaining not how you feel about the issue, but instead, what God says?

And before you go, hop on over to Reflections to find out how to curb the “its-all-about-mes” in your child.

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