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Parenting Without the Pressure

I think some of the stress of being a mom comes from believing we have to supply everything to our children, not just food, clothes, and shelter but emotional needs too. I think we commonly mistaken God's command to love to mean that we need to give to our kids what only God can give. 

All people have certain psychological needs: the need for love, acceptance, and to be understood; the need for security, safety and to understand the meaning of life; and the need for power and control in both ourselves and the world around us. We can boil these down to three basic categories: love, safety, and power.

Parents give their children a general sense of these three. They try to love them. They try to protect them. And they try to give their children age-appropriate choices. Sure, some parents seem to do this better than others. But even the very best of parents practice selfish love, are unable to protect their children from life's pains (or if they do, their children end up being unable to handle life) and no parent can prevent their children from misusing and misunderstanding the power given to them. Parents can't love, protect, and direct power like God can.

Does this mean we shouldn't try? No. But it means that we parent like we do every other impossible commandment from God. We try until we realize we can't. Then we turn to the Lord and say, "I can't. You must."

Parenting seems like a constant flip-flop between these two ways of living: on the one side we try so hard because we believe it all depends on us, and on the other wise we regift all God's gifts to us because we believe its not up to us.

It's not up to us to fulfill our children's craving to be unconditionally loved, to be thoroughly understood, and to be accepted no matter what they do. It's not up to us to prevent difficult things from happening, to be with them through all their hardships, or to be their peace in difficult times. It's not up to us to make them understand and use power correctly.

We are a bandaid to our children's needs not the cure. God is the cure. While our efforts may prevent them from bleeding while they walk down the street of life, we cannot save them from the cancer that is eating them from the inside out. Only God can save their hearts, love them, secure them, and be the power within them. We don't have to worry that we haven't done enough. God's on that job. The pressure is off.


Laura Provencio said…
I love this!!! Thank you for sharing!!

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