Confessions of a first-born, over-achieving, people-pleaser...
...with perfectionistic tendencies.
Friday, Landen worked for a neighbor and then used his paycheck to buy pizza for the family. I posted it on facebook so he would see it and be encouraged publicly.
Then everyone began to respond. Lots of folks "liked" the report, and several friends agreed that he was indeed a "sweet boy". But many of the comments
included congratulations on our "great parenting".
At first, one might assume this was a dream scenario for a fb,oa,pp w/pt's. I've done a great job. I'm experiencing an optimal outcome from the flagship of our offspring fleet. People literally "like" it. Perfectomundo!
But the slippery slope of pride leads only to sloppy face plant in the harsh mire of reality. For this one positive moment that might indicate skillful parenting, there are 10 in which my shortcomings seem undeniable. If I want any credit for the good stuff, I would have to claim the bad stuff too. This is high stakes bondage.
I just finished a book having the longest title I've ever seen. "Parenting Is Your Highest Calling' - and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt" by Leslie Leyland Fields.
We want so badly to get it all right - our marriages, our parenting, our family dynamics. We want to meet all the requirements of a good Christian family. But God takes every hour of our home life, as well as every hour outside of it, and he uses the mistakes, the flaws, the pain as much as, if not more than, he uses the good.
We will account for every part of our lives. But we have to let go of this idea that the only way God will save and sanctify our children is if we do our part exactly right and create 'the perfect Christian home'. Only one perfect family existed in history - and not for long.
We are so focused on ourselves - our own need for success and the success of our children - that we have come to view parenting as a performance or a test. We cannot pass the test, I'm afraid. If we're graded on a curve, we will always find parents and children who are more obedient, more joyful, and more peaceful. If we are graded on an absolute scale, then we all fail.
This is why Jesus came. This is why we need a Savior. 'By grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.' (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We need to quit asking, "Am I parenting successfully?"
Instead we need to ask, "Am I parenting faithfully?"
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for selecting my birth order...for forming me in my mother's womb. Thank You for calling me to love and serve You. Dying to myself and faithfully living in Your abundance would be my greatest achievement. I want to bring joy to those around me, but I yearn with all my soul to please You even at the cost of displeasing others. You say I should "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect". Apart from You, I can do NOTHING. It's my confession, Lord...