Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Letting Go Or Giving Up?

I have a problem. I am, by nature, a control freak. I didn't ask to be. I don't mean to be. I don't want to be. I am trying not to be.

For the last few years, I have been praying a lot about my control issues. And I have been trying to get better at giving things to God, letting go. I have been trying to rest in Him and cast my cares on Him. I have been trying to recognize my children as His and to pray for guidance in raising them. Well, I guess I have been doing that all along, but I have been really trying to listen and seek His will for my children.

In the last year especially, I think I have made real progress. I feel myself going to Him as a natural response before heading straight for the land of anxiety and stress. I really do find comfort. I really do feel a peace that transcends understanding.

Here is where my questions lie. I am going to try to explain without going in circles, but quite often that is where my mind goes when I think on these things.

This is an example I have heard many times. If you are in need of a job, you pray about it. You pray everyday. You don't go anywhere to fill out applications. You don't fill out any applications online. You don't make any phone calls. You just sit on your couch and pray for a job. I am not about to say that it isn't possible for the job to find you. However, when I have heard this example, the whole point has been that while prayer should be the first thing you do, it isn't the only thing you need to do. That makes perfect sense to me.

So here is where the circles begin. If there is an issue in my life with one of my children, I pray and give it to God. I have peace. I keep praying. I begin to think of things I can do, ways to check up on the situation, ways to insert myself into the situation. Holy Spirit? Here is why I don't think so. Those ideas come with their own brand of stress and anxiety. Those ideas do not come as gentle commands. It becomes more of an obsession. And I keep praying. But I also begin to wonder, "Am I giving up?" "Am I taking the easy way out?"

When does "letting go" become "giving up"? Is that even possible? I don't think so. I think I get confused because in spite of the situation not changing and not being resolved, I still have a peace about it. That confuses me. And I feel like I cannot possibly be doing my part if I am perfectly fine, but the situation is not. Wow. See how my mind works?! Exhausting, I know.

I do not have the answers. I am pretty sure that the whole giving things to God way...that is the way to go. I am pretty sure when those anxious, stressed and obsessive feelings fight their way back in...that isn't from God. I am pretty sure that those obsessive thoughts are born out of my own fears of failing. And those fears are powerful. I know...my God is more powerful. I sure wish knowing that in my head made it easier to follow through with my actions.

Please feel free to chime in. Please let me know I am not the only one with these struggles. Please let me know that letting go is not giving up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Qualities of a "Good" Mom

What are the qualities of a good mom? I am sure if you ask this question of ten moms, you would get ten different answers. There might be some common answers, but I think there would be a lot more that are different.

How do we even list the qualities of a good mom? Here is how I determine my "goodness" (I do not recommend this method). I watch other moms. Then I compare. Well, I do that better than her. Wow, she is really good at that. Maybe that is something I should work on. Oh my, did you hear how she spoke to her child in public? I would never do that. Did you know that mom never raises her voice? I guess I should try to be more like her.

The comparisons go on and on. And it is exhausting.

Here is what I think is the biggest problem with my method...or at least one of the biggest problems. The kids God gave me to raise are not those other moms' kids. And their kids? Not mine.

Now, I know there are moms out there who do some things much better than I do. That does not make me less of a good mom. I am not little Miss Crafty. We will not be doing an organized craft everyday. I am not always relaxed enough to let my kids do things that will create chaos and messes. Sometimes, I am that mom. Sometimes I am not. When I am that mom, they sure do appreciate it. I do raise my voice. I try not to. I pray about it. It is important for me to mention that when I raise my voice, I am not saying hurtful, hateful things. I am just expressing myself more loudly than previously in order to assure that I have been heard. One of my biggies is, "Knock it off!!!" This statement usually follows several quieter requests for whatever desired behavior to stop.

The bottom line is this. What are the qualities of a good mom? Love God first. Love the children. With God's help, do your best. And we need to stop beating up ourselves (and other moms) for not measuring up to whatever measuring stick we have created in our own minds.