On Monday, we started our series on BAD MOM DAYS. That day, i did more of an overview on the topic. Now I’m breaking it down. Today, we’ll talk about the problem of control. How do we control ourselves?
Deep down, I don’t want to control myself. I want to control them!
Yes, I’m talking about the parents for now. The best way we teach our children is by modeling. We can’t expect them to control their mouths or behavior if we are unable or unwilling to ourselves!
As a mom, I had trouble controlling my mouth. Truthfully, it started long before I had kids! Every teacher I had in school said I needed to control my talking. Whatever I was thinking, I said. I couldn’t shut my mouth! The more they told me to be quiet, the harder it was to control myself.
When I was hit with the challenges and responsibilities of parenting, learning to control myself in areas I had had difficulty before? Ohhh! It was agonizingly difficult!
Responsibility can be overwhelming!
Parenting brought on a set of challenges I wasn’t fully prepared for.
- Being responsible for the safety of a child.all.the.time.! Having to be on the look-out for potential hazards, knowing where they were once they were mobile? EEK! Scary. It was a stressful responsibility…and it didn’t stop!
- Training the child partially for safety, partially for life, to obey. Teaching submission to authority whether to parents, teachers, employers, etc. is a life skill. It is also for a child’s protection. We are responsible to teach them to obey…not in a micro managing way, but in a simple enough way that they have a few rules that are clearly and strongly enforced.
- With age and more children, there are more issues that arise because we want the children to get along with each other instead of fight. We are also trying to instill values in them that we want to last a lifetime. This category is not so easy to force…unless you want to be a non-stop policeman and even then, I’m not sure you will find it to be a successful way to raise your children. It is probably going to take some actions that positively motivate them in the direction of sharing and loving each other. We do have to realize that when we do that, we are not dealing with their heart. We are not making them love each other or desire to share or minister to each other. We are just teaching them to be pragmatic. That isn’t always the best way to go. They aren’t learning to make decisions based on what GOD wants or what is right or true.
For me, losing control meant I yelled. I didn’t want to do it, but I did. I don’t remember yelling a lot of evil words that demeaned their character…but it probably happened. Who wants to remember something like that? I usually yelled in a way that they knew they had better move! At that point I had had it and there was no patience left.
Do you really want to pass these deeply held traditional family sin patterns to the next generation?
This was at least a third generation sin issue in my family. I could always blame it on that, but I totally knew better. I had had enough friends whose homes I had visited where this was not a problem. I also knew that the Holy Spirit lived in me and was powerful enough to help me, but this was a problem I couldn’t seem to overcome. It was way bigger than simple self-control. I needed to WANT to change…to WANT the help the Holy Spirit had made available to me and to realize the painful consequences of my continuous sinful habit pattern.
I gritted my teeth a lot to keep from yelling. That helped…a little. But the anger was still there and somewhere along the way, it tended to pop out. Eventually that teeth gritting caused other problems that affected my jaws! Suffice to say, it was painful!
I tried apologizing, something I don’t do well AT ALL! It helped some, but the main reason I apologized was to avoid having to do it ever again. I was truly sorry I had hurt them, but I didn’t want to be in a position to have to apologize again either!
Do you get the gist that our sin tends to go way deeper than we realize? I know I am not unique here. My specific sin may be different, but the deeper levels of sin are pretty icky! An apology done because I hate to apologize and don’t want to do it again, is pretty pathetic, don’t you think?
At some point, I found a few things that helped with this problem…because it was a complex issue. Yes, it was simple in one way. I could say I was sinful and be sorry for my sin, but in another way, it was complex. I needed to get to the heart of the problem. I can’t do that without help. I need the Spirit to search out my motives. My heart is too devious. So much so that I can fool myself when it comes to my own motives. Even I can’t deal with the full extent of my deviousness. Jeremiah 17:9-10
What was the sin? Was I sorry? What did sorry look like? How could I know I would never do it again…maybe I would. When my kids ignored me and I felt disrespected, I got pretty angry! I couldn’t guarantee that I would never lose it again.
I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
That was one of my root sins. I wanted everyone to be ready to go to x activity when I wanted them to. If they weren’t ready on time and I had had enough other things go wrong, I would blow up! If their rooms weren’t clean in the given amount of time…BLOW UP!
Some children, and you may have some of those yourself, find this entertaining. I don’t think any of mine fell into that category…usually. For most, it is scary and something they dread.
I know I did when I was growing up. When I grew up I would do ANYTHING to avoid having my parents get to that point. That wasn’t good either!
What is at the root of your anger?
Okay, so I had this anger that had a deeper motivation for sure. Sometimes it was more selfish. Sometimes I was scared to death. They were in danger…either physical danger or sometimes spiritual danger. And I had no control! I couldn’t MAKE them love GOD. I couldn’t MAKE them want to obey. I wasn’t even able to keep myself under control, much less them! What was I to do?
- Look at anger as more of a symptom of what is happening in your heart.
- Deal with the root of the anger when repenting, asking forgiveness of GOD and involved people.
- Deal with the root of your anger when considering change of behavior and solutions or it will be like a person who deals with an abscess by putting a bandaid over it instead of having it treated to remove the underlying infection!
Where do you see the root of sin in your life as you deal with your children/grandchildren/spouse?
Ask GOD to open your eyes to the root of your sin in this relationship. Jeremiah 17:9-10
Wonderful post Martha. It really got me thinking. I like that. Thank you for being so transparent. I agree, I think it really is about control and sometimes about not feeling like you have NO control.
thanks debi. i like to know that what i write causes people to think. i think you are right too. the issue is often either our control or lack of it.
Oh Martha it’s late and I am up way too late but I stopped by and read this post. So much of your gritty truth I can hardly stand it. You’ve nailed it today lady and I will go to sleep now asking God to do a little heart surgery. Thanks friend!
while you are asking for yourself Lisha, you can ask for me:) i need it too! in fact, if you think of it today, you could pray for me today as i lead a small group of women. i’m the newbie. there are close to 100 women who meet at the church starting today, once a week. my small group is 12 women, different ages. i don’t even know most of them. what is our topic? THE PRAYING LIFE by Paul Miller. great book. and i need a LOT of help with my prayer life sad to say.