Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time Outs and Attitudes

Each moment of every day we're either walking toward God or walking farther away. Sometimes it's not so much that we're not praying unceasingly as the Bible calls us to do, it's more the infinitesimal steps away from him and toward self.

This crops up in attitudes and the words we use with others, which leads me to the short people in our family.

Sometimes I find myself becoming an armchair parent. Refereeing from the sidelines. Directing children like I'm directing traffic. Issuing time outs like speeding tickets.

It didn't occur to me until God had tapped me on the shoulder a few times that consequences don't change hearts. Time outs don't change attitudes.

It may create external compliance, but it doesn't touch their character.

I need to get down to their eye level, speak to their hearts about connection with others. Teach them how words can build up or tear down. In essence love them closer to Jesus.

But those days when I've let go of God's hand and am forging ahead on my own, where am I leading my kids? I'm leaning on my own understanding, trying to make my own straight path (not good for this directionally challenged mother).

Empty reservoirs lead to short-circuited moms. You know how it is. The kid just stepped on your very last nerve and you stand there screeching at him looking like something out of a horror movie.

To be the kind of moms our kids need, we have to be filled up.

For me, this starts in the bedroom. Specifically in my closet. My own quiet place where I can sit and talk to God uninterrupted (except for the occasional banging on the closet door when the short people need something).

If I'm not sharing all of me with my King—the good, bad and ugly—the ick stays inside and inevitably effects how I interact with my kids.

Even if it's only a few minutes that I have to sneak into my closet and close the door, I'll take it because it's only in his presence that I become complete.

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