As a parent, at times, I struggle. Knowing what “battles to fight” and what things to allow my children to “grow out of” can be difficult to discern. I find comfort in the fact that this is a “tightrope,” most godly parents attempt to walk. I’m not alone in my journey to be a parent who helps my children develop godly character while not “provoking them to wrath” (Colossians 3:21) by being overbearing. That being said, I wanted to share two things that help me find better balance when things tip too far in one direction.
Keeping my heart stayed on God and the reality that He is in control gives me the courage to let go of control.
With my children, I am a parent more inclined to be overbearing than I am to let things slide, so to speak. As a trained counselor, I try to catch behaviors early before they are repeated enough to be labeled as traits. That’s counselor speak for, “I’m controlling.” For some reason, I never assume the Legos or cereal will end up on the floor (Foolish, I know). When frustrated by situations or behaviors, that are not inherently sinful, but are typical for my child’s age, I step back and check my own heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Keeping my heart stayed on God, and the reality that He is in control gives me the courage to let go of control. I review my heart and ensure I am being faithful to train up my children (Proverbs 22:6) while, at the same time, truly trusting God to order their steps.
Secondly, when every battle seems worth fighting, I ask God to be present. It has been my experience that perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors tend to shift when our home is filled with worship and thankfulness. When my wife and I are intentional about inviting and hosting the presence of God, our parenting is impacted. “Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). I ask God to be present because His presence changes the way that I respond to disappointment and frustrations.
As parents, it takes wisdom to know what battles are worth fighting and which ones we need to leave alone. Thankfully, God has promised us wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Reviewing my heart and ensuring that I am personally submitted to God’s control helps me to avoid the need to be overly controlling in my parenting. Inviting God’s presence helps me to be more grace-filled when dealing with my children.
How are you doing in this battle from balance? What has helped you in your journey in being a godly parent? I would love to hear from you.