I, Me, Thine

I was once referred to as a statistic by my college professor. According to him, based on my family history I should have been on drugs, failing school, pregnant or quite the party girl. I was an A student battling my demons and facing depression for the first time. My past and my present were haunting me. They were hanging on my neck and choking what I believed to be my only life out of me. Fear. Fear creeps out from under the rocks of my past.Sometimes fear comes from labels. “Dysfunctional family.” I was bound and determined, come hell or high water, I would not have a dysfunctional family. I would not have children from a broken home. I would have a marriage that lasted. I would have children who knew God and His goodness. I would have children who respected me. I would… I would… I would. Would I? Do I actually have direct control over my life? My marriage? My kids?

I listed a whole lotta things I want to see happen. Most of which are legitimate desires. All of which are solely about me. If I can make all of the pieces of my life fit together, then I will be okay. Right? After all, society is teaching me that I need to look out for number one. If I don’t take care of my needs, they won’t be met. Isn’t that yet another attitude with its roots deeply planted in the soil of fear? When I do a gut check on my decision making process, I do not want it to be traced back to fear.

Likewise, when I raise my children I do not want it to be rooted in fear. If my choices are derived from a heart of fear, then I will teach my children to do the same. I will teach my kids it is better to control and be afraid than to let go and lean on faith. That being said, I must grapple with my heart and face my fears head on. If I don’t do that, then one way or another, I’m bound to let my fears control my mothering. So what do I do? What does a person do when looking headlong at their fears in the midst of rearing impressionable, little people?

The first step is already out there – just admit the fear. Don’t cling to it and focus on it, but recognize the power it can wield. Next, acknowledge the starting place of the anxiety. It may very well be from the past. The reason it hovers around you like a demon today is because you are not the only one trying to plan your life. Satan has plans for your life, too. His plans are not to prosper you, but to take away your hope and devastate your future. This is the antithesis of what God wants for you as a person and a parent. (see Jeremiah 29:11) While satan wants you to live every day in worry, God desires for you to live every day by faith. Worry eats at your core and rots your hope. Faith strengthens your legs when you stumble and grounds itself in hope. One more thing to do is let go. You did not knit your child together in the Secret Place. (Psalm 139) God created the little people we call our own. Release your clenching hands and let God be your guide and Counselor.

I. I would. Me. My babies. My marriage. My life. My control. Noooo… Not I, Me, Mine. I, Me, Thine. As much as I want to control my life, at the very depths of my soul I know my Creator is already the ultimate control. He is the perfect control. If I seek His face and His shelter instead of doing things my “safe” way, my parenting will change. My fear laden choices will be drenched in faith. My children will see a parent who isn’t trying to control them, but to instruct them and mold their hearts. That in itself will have benefits throughout our relationship. They will learn that their personal well-being does not determine whether or not Mom is okay. They may come to know they can have their own dramas and tragedies without a parent going into a spiral of panic. That gives children a freedom of heart and a sense of identity – their identity, not yours.

I am not speaking from the all-knowing place of a woman who has been-there-done-that. I am speaking from a heart that knows what it is to recognize my own fearful parenting and disciplining as a means to control behavior. My longing is that I will parent from a place of faith and wisdom. Not just controlling myself and my toddlers, but living by example and instructing their hearts according to the Words of my Gentle Teacher.

Can you relate? Does your past affect your present? How are you making choices that allow your children to be free from feeling your fear and desire to control?

-Shelby Rawson

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