Let's Be Nice...To Ourselves!
Can we agree to be kind to ourselves?
What happens when you're wrestling with concerns and fears in the middle of sleepless nights? Studies tell us that parents continue to lose sleep wrestling with concerns for their adult children. Are you as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend? Are you encouraging? Do you help yourself remember the good times and not just the worries?
There are no perfect parents.
There are also no perfect children.
I know we've heard that before, but can we agree that on this journey we'll try hard to start believing it?
God reminds us in the book of Isaiah that "...He gently leads those that have young." (Isaiah 40:11 NIV) I held on to this promise for dear life when my kids were young and I often didn't know what I was doing. My kids are grown now and there needs to be a shift in our dynamics. I still don't always know what I'm doing.
This promise is as true today as when Nick and Kati were toddlers.
I will always be their parent, and they will always be "my young." That means God will continue to lead me gently through every phase of life and all the transitions we face together.
If God leads us gently, perhaps we can relax and enjoy the process rather than beating ourselves up for not reacting well or saying something we shouldn't. I know we're talking about our kids and I know we feel deeply that the stakes are high. Maybe we can work together on trusting God as we learn new ways to think and new patterns in our interactions as adults.
We travel new paths together.
The weekend Kati got married, she said something that keeps running through my mind. I don't remember the details, but she looked at me and said, "I think we need to have a lot more grace with ourselves. I've never gotten married before, and you've never had a daughter get married." When did she get to be so smart?!
She's right. So often, we've never "been here" before. During my interviews, many parents expressed a fair amount of angst describing lessons they've learned over the years with their kids. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Focusing backward, however, impacts the progress we make going forward. Guilt and regret have a way of muddying up our thinking.
Let's embrace Paul's attitude and "forget what's behind" so that we can "strain toward what's ahead." (Philippians 3:13 NIV) There is really a lot to learn on this journey through life with our children. Most of us will enjoy many more years with our children after they leave home than the 18 or so years they spend with us.
Instead of being too quick to judge ourselves and find fault, can we agree to show ourselves a little more grace?
Can we try to forgive ourselves a little faster and remind ourselves that what seems like a big deal today will probably feel much smaller tomorrow?
Maybe we can even find the courage to laugh at ourselves along the way...
What do you say?