PUTTING THE DISCOMFORT BACK ON THEM

PUTTING THE DISCOMFORT BACK ON THEM

Once past the elementary years, a great parenting tool has been to simply partner with Holy Spirit to see how the discomfort can be placed on the child, not me. A child will step up to the plate when they feel the pressure and discomfort of their choices. When my kids transitioned from homeschool to formal school, I showered them with grace as they were learning so many new things involving lockers, tests, new classroom rules, eating lunch in a certain time frame, and so on. Months into it, I still found myself asking in the morning, “Did you brush your teeth? Did you make your bed? Did you…?” My mind was going to explode as I tried not only to get myself ready and out the door but to remember who did and didn’t do what! I sat on the kitchen counter lamenting to Holy Spirit that I felt like I was going to lose it. The kids came down only to confirm they had not done what was expected, and back up they went. I stayed on the counter, trying to keep my cool. This continued for nearly 20 minutes. We finally got in the car, when I calmly said, “Thanks for choosing to get all of your stuff done this morning. Great job. I just want you to know that the bell rang 20 minutes ago.” They begged me with tears not to make them go to school late, but I had to be tough to let them feel the discomfort of their choices. Upon entering the school office, I was asked the purpose of the tardy. I simply said, “My kids were learning to take responsibility this morning.” The office clerk winked at me and told the kids it would be unexcused and handed them their slips to enter their classrooms… late. Guess how many times they failed to do their morning routine after that?

**Toddlers need the training established so that you can use tools like this down the road. I would not attempt to do this with a toddler who is still learning right/wrong.

WIN THEM OVER

Character matters because it matters to heaven. The Word is loaded with commands on the way we should be conducting ourselves, and children need opportunities to grow in self-control, discipline, and character.

Years ago, we were traveling as a family and arrived at our hotel late but had a super early am flight. Within minutes, our hotel room was trashed; stuff everywhere, covers all over the place, trash on the floor, towels all over, etc. I called the kids in and asked how we would feel if we walked into our hotel room like that. Would we want to stay here? Not really! I told them that the housekeeping staff is paid to make it look nice for the next person. It’s their job. No matter how big of a mess we make, they have to clean it. I then asked them, “But is that what we WANT to do?” Do we want to be known as yet one more dirty, messy room, or do we want to be known for the mysterious family that blessed her socks off when she opened yet one more room to clean? Since that defining moment in our family, at every hotel we have stayed at, the kids have gathered the trash in one spot and piled dirty towels together, they ask Jesus what He wants to say to the maids and place notes with $1 bills around the room for her. It isn’t always about our ‘rights’ but about having the character to lay down our rights in order to be a blessing to others. This was a defining moment in our family, deciding who we wanted to be as a unit. In order to be who we are called to be, we had to reject the norm and march to our own drum. Every family has an identity. Ask yourself: “What matters to me? How do I want people to experience us? What is the greatest way we can impact the world around us as a family? What will we stand for?”

POWERFUL WORDS

What declarations are you making today? “I am afraid something bad will happen, and I won’t be able to keep my kids safe.” “This is the worst thing ever; we will never recover.” “This is terrible!” OR “God is in control.” “Jesus is alive.” “I am a child of God.” “He loves me and has my back.” “Fear is not from Him.” “I will know what to do because He lives inside of me.” “He gives me peace and rests in the storm.” “I trust His-story.” “I am loved.” “My emotions matter but do not lead me.” “I don’t know how God is going to work this out, but He always does.” 

So be intentional about writing out three declarations and put them up on your mirror, in the car, and on your phone, and recite them often today. We become what we focus on and want to be anchored to the TRUTH (not facts).

GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS

Do you realize that you have a mighty, mighty generational line? Each generation came from the womb, where they were knit together by Father God. Each and every one of your ancestors has left you something – something good and something not so good. The rich spiritual inheritance from ALL THE WAY BACK is yours. You can receive it. But you can also throw out the deficit that each generation has left in the spiritual realm, too. It isn’t so much that things like anger, abuse, etc. are in your ‘blood’; as much as when the door to the enemy is opened (foothold), and you are raised in an environment of trauma and fear. It is easy to adopt the same behavior because it is familiar. You have heard of the girl hating her alcoholic father and then marrying one, the child who cursed her overweight mother and then became overweight herself. Your bloodline isn’t the issue – it is the modeled and learned behavior. Christ came to realign us with our heavenly family so that we wouldn’t be held captive to the mistakes of our earthly one.

SEXUAL SAFETY

Teaching about the birds and bees is different from sexual safety. I believe sex education should start in the home so that children have a solid understanding and do not learn it for the first time on the playground with mixed and twisted information. Over time, this is an evolving process that happens in layers as they age and mature. However, sexual safety is something that every parent must be intentional with and proactively equip their children to be safe. We teach our children how to keep their heads safe using bike helmets, their bodies safe by not answering the door, their hands safe while holding yours, and their mouths healthy using a toothbrush, but we also need to teach them about sexual safety. What age is this for? ALL!!! I cannot stress this enough. Unless your child is with you 24/7, and I mean 24/7, then perhaps they don’t need to be equipped, but if they go to school, have playdates, overnights, babysitters, friends, neighbors, and attend church, they need to be equipped. 

PART OF THE FAMILY

When the kids were little, they always wanted to go to the park after nap time, but I was exhausted from cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. I felt like my day was a perpetual cycle of complete and repeat. The thought ran through my mind that if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t have to do all of this work. I hated that thought because I loved being a mom and my children. I rebuked that thought and remember the Lord leading me to EMPOWER my children to be a part of the family, not just takers. I sat them down and told them that I wanted to take them to the park too, but that part of living in a family is running a family that includes picking up after ourselves, cleaning, and managing our home. We came up with four areas that needed attention every day – floors, dishes, laundry, and garbage. From that day on, I haven’t touched a single one in nearly ten years. Each week we rotate chores and run the family together. When they were tiny, they didn’t do it perfectly, nor did I expect them to. But I used it as a time to go after character, self-control, honor, and faithfulness. When one fails to take out the garbage, it affects the family. When we rush and put clothes where they don’t belong, it affects the family. When dishes don’t get done, it affects the family. When they had attitudes, I went after their heart. I wasn’t training them in the area of perfection but in having the CHARACTER behind a chore or task. This is one of the best choices I made as a mom years ago, and I am reaping the fruit of four children who own the wealth, health, and success of our family unit. They were taught from an early age how to care for their family, and it started with chores. What have you empowered your children to do to help run the family?

SLANDER

Slander steals and kills! God hates slander (Proverbs 6:16, 19). It is evil. That’s why Paul lists it as a behavior of those who hate God (Romans 1:30) and why James calls it demonic behavior (James 3:15-16). Slander occurs whenever someone says something untrue about someone else that results, intentionally or unintentionally, in damaging that someone else’s reputation. And when it occurs, it becomes a divisive, discouraging, and confusing weight that often affects numerous people – sometimes many, many people. Because of its poisonous power, IT IS ONE OF THE ADVERSARY’S CHIEF STRATEGIES TO DIVIDE relationships and deter and derail the mission of the church. We must be on our guard against this closely clinging sin and frequently lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1). Slander applies to siblings too. 

The Subtlety of Slander

Sometimes, saying something untrue and damaging about someone is bold and blunt. But the slander is often insidiously subtle, especially since we have heard it in almost every context and grown accustomed to it all our lives. This means we must heighten our sensitivity to it and lower our tolerance to it. Slander can wear a hundred masks. I’ll mention a few common ones. Sometimes we pass along slanderous information that seems almost like harmless hearsay. Yet, the effect it has on our listeners is to leave them with an unfairly negative perception of another. Sometimes we embellish with information or tone a negative report about someone in order to enhance our listener’s perception of ourselves. Sometimes we have a very real concern about someone, but we share it with someone who cannot benefit from it or help with the concern. We do this because we want our listeners to think worse of a particular person. Or suppose we share a concern with an appropriate person. In that case, we can sometimes indulge our speculations or presumptions, mixing them almost imperceptibly with facts for our listeners, distorting the concern to sway an outcome in the desired direction. The net effect of all forms of slander is to unjustly devalue another person’s reputation. 

Slander Is Stealing

This devaluing is at the heart of what makes slander evil. The Bible tells us, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). In this context, a good name represents a person’s character, which is the most valuable thing about their identity. A good name is who we are in the minds of others. And since relationships trade in the currency of trust, a reputation is a very precious asset. So whenever we handle a person’s name – who they are in the minds of others – we are stewarding a treasure that belongs to them. If we unjustly damage a person’s reputation, we are stealing their good name and vandalizing their character. This causes real, sometimes long-lasting damage to people because restoring a devalued name is difficult. Who knows what love, joy, counsel, comfort, and opportunities we take from people if we care for their name carelessly? God knows. And He hates it. God hates when we speak evil of his name (Exodus 20:7) and when we speak evil of others (Titus 3:2). He will hold us accountable for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36). This is a great incentive for us to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1).

Fight Slander First in Yourself

The foremost slanderer we must silence is the one inside us. Full of malignant pride, our sinful natures are not interested in truth but in self-glory. So they seek to manipulate others through slander (or flattery) for our own selfish benefit. Sin (and therefore our demonic harassers) seizes on a concern for or an offense we’ve received from another and seeks to distort it into thinking evil of that person. Thinking evil of another is assigning imagined or exaggerated negative qualities to them that doesn’t exist. Often this begins as private fantasies where we nurture our concerns or offense by imagining ourselves justified in our righteousness and others condemned in their evil. But in truth, all we’re doing is passing our own evil thoughts on to imaginations disguised as other people. That’s our sinful nature’s slanderer talking. We are fools to listen to it. And when our slander spills out from ourselves to others – and it will if we don’t catch it soon enough – it is both selfishly indulgent and cowardly. Slander is indulgent because we often seek the self-flattery buzz of our listener approving and admiring us more than the one we are slandering. We are robbing another’s reputation to get the drug of self-flattery. Slander is cowardly because it’s a way of nurturing a concern or an offense and gaining sympathizers without doing the courageous work of bringing it directly to the source of our concern or offense. Our rationalizations for this can be countless, but essentially we don’t have the guts to deal with it head-on. This means our character is in serious question since we are willing to vandalize another’s character to gain allies.

We must grow ruthless in ignoring and silencing our slandering sinful natures. 

By Jon Bloom 

JESUS IS MY DEFENDER

I am so undone by the goodness of Jesus. I was processing some deep things as my daughter was walking through one of her biggest breakthroughs. It was breathtaking to watch her walk this out on her own. While spending time with Jesus, I kept hearing the story about the woman caught in adultery. There are many thoughts about what Jesus was writing in the sand, so I asked Him to show me. He answered my question by showing me the position of His eyes. While the men of the day, who deemed themselves mighty important and superior to the rest, dragged a naked woman before the courts (the shame and humiliation must have been brutal), Jesus looked away. Could it be He knew His presence alone was convicting, and He didn’t want to stare at her nakedness? Then I heard Him say, “I didn’t defend her sin, but I did defend the JUDGMENTS against her.” I wept! Jesus isn’t about shaming you publicly for your weaknesses, sins, or messy places. He is there to defend the part of your heart that is in need of a Savior. Read John 8!

FORGIVE FORGIVE FORGIVE

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.

Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive.Forgive…

…and then forgive AGAIN! 

“I make the choice of my will to forgive _______ for _______ so that satan has no hooks in me that he can use to influence my mind, emotions, confidence, identity, calling, or blessings! I release the offense and turn it over to God to judge and deal with accordingly.”

GOING AFTER LOVE

Going after the power of God alone leads to fear and intimidation. Going after the love of God is what makes you powerful.

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

Take a moment and introduce your child to Psalms 100:4-5. Children of this generation understand the language of needing a ‘password’ to enter. I love how we get to write His word on their hearts!

Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good, and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”