Monday, November 19, 2012

Thoughts on Survival Thinking

A few weeks ago I wrote about chasing after our child's heart and working on their character.
I also said that I would share some of the ways I have doing that.
This week I hope to finally put words to my downloaded images and publish a few strategies I have been using combined with my Mediated Learning approach.

Before we enter into what is most likely to be a Series on Re-establishing Respect, I realized that it is important to preface it with a bit of honesty and humility.

Here goes...

In our home, we are currently working through the issue of Disrespect.
I wasn't keen on admitting this on my blog..or my life. It seems like I am announcing that I am a failure as a parent. Not exactly the type of thing you put in bold print.
But... an issue like disrespect isn't one that you can pretend doesn't exist.
Everybody knows it does.
Best to face it head on, I suppose.
Even though it's uncomfortable.

Here's something to know.
Yes, I have slacked in this area.
I am proud of it? No.
Will I justify it? No.
Some food for thought, though...
When you are going through a hard season in your home life, you are more focused on surviving it, then on catching every issue and parenting it.
Because the truth is, some days you really don't have the emotional capacity or wherewithal to handle or to parent the way you need to.
Some might argue that you can't make excuses for poor parenting, that you should have been turning to God for His grace to parent better.
 And I would argue that some days all you have is the ability to ask God to grant you the strength to make it to the end of the day knowing that you fed your kids, hugged them and got them in bed at a decent time. Sometimes that, in itself, is the miracle.

At the end of the hard season though, you have succeeded in surviving.
You've made it out in one piece.
A little worse for wear but alive, intact.

Now, it's a new season.
And your eyes are open to the fact that in your emotional state you let some MAJOR things slide and you are dealing with, in my case, a lot of disrespect.

So, if you are me, you have a meltdown for a week, cry on the phone to your mother and watch the entire two seasons of Life Unexpected on Netflix. 
You know you should pray.
You know you should read the Bible and ask God for wisdom.
You just feel so stupid that you are where you are.
You feel that more than disappointing God, your children or your spouse, you have disappointed yourself. And we all know that we can be hardest on ourselves.

But finally, your mother tells you to stop living in self-pity and start worshipping God and it will all come out right.
So you do.
And it does.

And here's what you realize:
Survival thinking is useful when you are in survival mode. 
Survive thinking gets you to ...survive. It gets you to make it out of the situation relatively in one piece.
But there comes a time when you recognize that the "survival" season is over, and if you are going to move forward in a healthy way...then, survival thinking has to go.

For example, one of my survival thoughts was...I just don't have the time or emotional capacity to handle this on top of everything else. There are other battles that need my reserves of emotion and care.
Now my thoughts have to be...God, please give me the strength to make the time to invest more of myself into this child and give me wisdom on how to go about it.

God is really good at putting broken things back together. 
He is really good at restoring things. 
Lean into that. 
Abandon the survival thinking and embrace the God-thoughts: All things are possible with God.

And the other tip...

This is going to take some time.
 A lot of time investment on your part.
But that's ok.
Because God is really good at doing a quick work with willing hearts.

Lean into that. 

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