I listened to a Focus on the Family broadcast that I can’t shake. It was John Rosemond speaking on Raising Well-Behaved Children. The title had me.
I don’t want perfect children, but I desire obedient children. I don’t want children who can’t think for themselves or form their own opinions, but I do want children who will not challenge every word from my lips or argue each instruction I speak.
John Rosemond’s words have been scrolling through my mind. He talked about how our generation is more concerned with building relationships with our kids than being leaders and disciples to our children. Considering the fact that I attempt to build a strong relationship with my kids, I knew I had to explore this line of thought.
I love the words of Josh McDowell, “rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” John spoke to this and said he believes Josh would agree that to have a relationship, you need leadership first.
John goes on to speak about the ‘good mommy club’. This is the club where to be a good mommy you spend as much time as possible with your children (among other things). He said, “My mom expected me to pay attention to her.” Whoa!
Here’s where I will take this in a different direction. My mind began to ponder our drive to become intentional parents.
John Rosemond said he wants to liberate women across the country from the good mommy club and restore marriages.
Over the past several weeks, God continues to show me where I need His freedom. I need His freedom in everything. Often I push back and think I have life under control or that I know best. God gently brings me to a place where He shows me that freedom through Him and His strength is what I truly need.
God didn’t ask me to be in the good mommy club. He asked me to be in the ‘love Me with your whole heart club’. Many of my best efforts are attempts to take His glory.
Jesus wants to carry the weight of glory so I don’t have to.
On any given day, I can scroll through Facebook or Twitter or my blog roll, and I can read amazing, amazing, amazing words that encourage me to be more intentional, or instruct me in being a better mom. I see pictures of what everyone else does with their kids, and suddenly I feel what I’m doing doesn’t compare.
It’s not the fault of the words I read or the images I see, it’s what I do with those words and pictures. Often I turn these well-meaning words into commands to try harder. It comes back to me.
The online world doesn’t need to change. The bloggers don’t need to stop blogging. The posters don’t need to stop posting. I need to change what I do with the words and images when they enter my heart.
If I’m not careful about the words I allow to shape and impact me in my parenting, in my spiritual walk, in everything, I can very easily make ready a field of fear in my heart. Fear of failing my kids. Fear of how my kids will turn out. Fear of them making poor choices. Fear over everything in my life.
The words we allow to shape us have the potential to create fear which quietly fuels our desires to become more “intentional”, which could possibly turn into try-harder parenting in disguise.
To be an intentional parent is to be a parent on purpose and to parent with purpose.
Intentional parenting isn’t merely filling bucket lists, creating memories, going on special date nights, attending every field trip, and playing for endless hours. All of these moments are lovely, but if we aren’t careful, these can add up to a list that will never be satisfied. They will whisper to our soul, “You will never be enough.”
Our world is making intentional parenting something it doesn’t have to be. Something more complicated than it should be.
The harder I try to be a good mommy, the bigger my fear grows. With good reason. My focus is on me, not Him. My eyes need to be fixed on Him, not the world around me that tells me what a good mommy looks like. My eyes need to be fixed on Him, not my children, who at any given moment cause me to tremble at the possibilities I see. My eyes need to be fixed on Him, not the fear of what others think.
If our kids need us to be a leader, which makes way for a healthy relationship, then the best place to start is fixing our eyes on the ultimate leader who came for us.
Maybe when we fix our eyes on Him, intentionality becomes effortless. Maybe intentionality becomes a byproduct.
Today I will release my membership from the good mommy club. Care to join me? I’m taking my eyes off what the world, the blogs, and social media says I should do to be a good mommy, and I’m fixing my eyes on Him. I will let Him make me the mommy He wants me to be. It might not look like the best mommy to the world, but if He is leading me, it will be the best version for the purpose He sets before me.
I think I agree with John Rosemond. I think freedom will feel really nice. Christ came to set us free. He covers us with grace through the sacrifice. He came so nothing would hold us captive again. Even being a good mommy.
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