choices

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I just wrote a post for my friend’s blog (I’ll let you know when it gets published) but ended it realizing that the best thing I could offer myself and others regarding faith and parenting is the idea of reframing. You see, I choose to be home with my kids, and the vast majority of time I’m so thankful both that I have that option and that I get to do it. But there are moments when I am fully jealous of people who get to leave their kids in someone else’s care, that don’t have little ones without great logical reasoning arguing with them about how they don’t want to brush their teeth or put on their shoes or get in the car. I have moments that I forget the joy my kids are and long for the lives of my childless friends who seemingly jet to and fro at whim. Or, at the bare minimum, they have control over their schedule and are, well, productive. (Because productivity is the mark of success, right? Sigh.)

I remember in my pre-child state (oh so long ago :)) that I had a co-worker with whom I didn’t see eye-to-eye on political issues. She was rabid in her viewpoints and quite disparaging of alternative perspectives. It never affected our working relationship–she was a great therapist–and she never knew how I felt on said issues. But I remember feeling a bit of antipathy toward her for a while. Then in our bible study we were talking about reframing things. In this context it meant choosing to look at a situation or a person from a different perspective. So instead of seeing my co-worker as closed-minded and frustrating I could see her as passionate and longing to live out her beliefs. And then I saw that her passion was a God-given one. It didn’t change what I believed, but it did dramatically change how I viewed her. I could thank God for her passion and pray that it would be used for His glory.

These days reframing looks a little different. My child refuses to get out of the car to change his wet clothes so he can put on new clothes and go to preschool. I could just get angry that we’re going to be late and stomp off. (I do this sometimes.) Or I could recognize that this little one wants to have some control over his life and ask God what He wants me to do now. I could see that I want him to be passionate and to not give in just because someone else says something else. (Yes, I do want him to obey, so we’re working on that, too.) I can recognize that being late for preschool is not the end of the world. If I give him the ten minutes it takes for him to get out and pull his clothes off, he feels power and he practices dressing himself. He’s proud of himself that he did it all. It never would happen if I rush him along. But more than that, I can choose to see that I get a chance to practice patience and extend grace to someone. Lo and behold, my frustration dissipates in the process. The situation hasn’t changed. But I am, and I’ll take my baby steps.

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