Response to Jan 13 Meeting

Hope you enjoy this response to our January 13th meeting with speaker Renee Farkas.  This is writtin by MT mom and excellent writer Shelby Raswon. 

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Whew. Today was a bit of a punch in the gut for me! What was that Renee said? Oh, yes… “The enemy is not out there, it is our emotional reactivity.” Emotional reactivity. Emotional reactivity? Me? Let me think about that for a split second. YES, I am an emotionally reactive mama!

So what does that mean for this mama (and probably many other mothers!)? It means that when my children are having one of their squabbles and it escalates, I use some form of “screaming” to manage them. (For me, screaming is any kind of rage that takes form – whether it be silent or not.) There is no deciding on my part, it is a knee-jerk reaction. At no time, do I pause and check my heart, nor do I invite Jesus to walk with me in that moment. I act. I take control. I get a grip on the situation. Because after all, it is all about me and my needs… right?

I believe that when I react to a situation with my children instead of pausing to make a decision, it is all about me. It is all about me and my fears. Fears that lie behind the door of my heart until knocked upon by my champion-door-knocking children. What is going to happen to them if I don’t put a stop to this behavior immediately? What kind of person will he be if I don’t get control of this attitude right away? What will people think of me if I don’t keep my kids in line at the store? What will people think if my child goes to church with a big breakfast stain on her shirt? The list could go on and on.

To call it fear now is easy. To be present in my own heart and recognize my fear (hurt, anger, loneliness, etc.) in the middle of the situation is quite the challenge for me. It would require me to first take the time to name the true core of my feeling (anger is almost always the easiest one to label, but there is usually something deeper going on!) For me, naming my feelings is typically pretty tough. To name our feelings is to know our hearts. To know our identities.

If you struggle like me and have a tendency to react rather than decide, it may be time for both of us to pause. Hit the pause button when the kids are not screaming and the phone isn’t ringing. I have got to sit with God and think about some recurring themes in my parenting and ask Him to show me what triggered me into those knee-jerk reactions. We must take the time to be honest with ourselves about what really happens in our hearts in those situations that seem to jerk us down the path to “screaming” at our children. It will probably mean having the courage to visit our wounds and open them up for more healing from our scream-free Father.

I’m praying that I will be reminded of the lilies (Luke 12:27a), that I will not toil but rest and receive, that I will not scream and cut myself off emotionally but stay in relationship by emotionally engaging , and that I will learn to groan inwardly. Amen.

-Shelby Rawson

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