There has been something on my mind lately. I feel as if I’ve been performing a mental balance beam routine with my thoughts. My virtual ankles are starting to ache. I’m striving to find the rest that comes with steadiness and control, but it seems I continue to wobble, even if only in my mind’s eye.
I don’t do well with balance beams. In first grade, I hopped off the end of a balance beam and ended up on my back with a dislocated elbow and broken arm. Ouch. Maybe that’s why I’m sticking with the mental balancing act for now… but it’s been almost as painful.
I just want to be a good mom.
I have goals for my children. And hopes. And dreams. And love. I want to do an excellent job at raising them. I really do. But there are two schools of thought encouraging me, as if two little weighted coaches are on each of my shoulders causing me to tip to and fro.
As I read some blogs, articles, books, or talk to other parents, I mentally lean in one direction while trying to keep my feet on the beam. These voices tell me that I should not miss a moment of my child’s precious life. Dare I look at Facebook or spend an evening out of the house when I might miss a moment that I’ll never get back again? I’m told good parents involve their children in higher learning opportunities, athletic training and intense, intentional intentionality.
Should I be involving my children in more activities? Am I doing enough intentional training? Gasp! I paid more attention to the laundry today at one point than I did my kids. I didn’t even play Barbies with them today at all. Oh great, I forgot to seize the day and make the most of every single moment with them! Have I failed and messed them up for life?!
I need to lean back the other way or I’m going to fall off of this beam. So I tune in to the voices that are on the other side. They are telling me that we are raising a generation of spoiled brats. This side reminds me that the world does not revolve around my kids and I need to stop acting as if it does. Stop coddling your children. Don’t give them so much “stuff.” We need to give our children more responsibility and less technology. Our children are not our trophies or our vehicles to accomplish things we wish we’d done in our own lives.
Oh no! I’ve failed on this side too. Maybe I’ve spoiled my kids and not given them enough responsibility. I don’t have a chore chart with stickers hanging on my refrigerator. My preschoolers don’t even have chores yet! Maybe it’s good that I didn’t play Barbies with them today because perhaps I’ve already played with them too much and they are going to grow up to be spoiled, irresponsible narcissists!
Deeper Breath. I’ve really got to relax.
So let me go back to the beginning of this balancing routine. I have goals for my children. And hopes. And dreams. And love.
I’m pretty sure that loving them is allowed and even encouraged, so I can cross that one off my worry list. Hopes and dreams and goals are alright too. But for me, when I truly start to define what those things are specifically for my children… well, that’s when I start to find my rest.
All I truly want for my children is for them to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength, and to serve Him however He leads them each individually for His glory.
And there it is. I’m steady. I’m resting in the truth that nothing else really matters.
Is it ok if I sometimes play hide-and-seek and giggle with my kids at bedtime and stare into their eyes as I marvel at the preciousness of their beautiful faces? Sure.
Is it ok if I sometimes ask them to entertain themselves while I work hard at the task I must accomplish that has nothing to do with them? Yep.
Is it ok if they are in sports and being intentionally trained to be one of the top in their class? Fine.
And is it ok if I sometimes allow my child to struggle through a hard decision without any of my assistance so that they can learn to “sink or swim” on their own? Absolutely.
That stuff doesn’t really matter. I can lean one way and I can lean the other. They are both fine but neither way is all right or all wrong.
My feet are planted firmly on the beam. I lift my eyes and my heart in worship to my Creator who also created my children and gave them to me. All I truly want is for my children to do the same.
And as the voices on either side fade away, I find my balance, my steadiness, my control. I am focused on the God who loves me and who loves my children. I desire to honor Him and teach my children to do the same, whatever that may look like.
And it’s there that I’ve finally found my place of rest.