Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Enemy to Influence

I have a friend who, it seems, will spout out, “I was listening to this podcast the other day and ......” like, twice a week.  After the 17th time, over a few weeks, I had to get a clear picture in my mind.  So I asked the big question.  “When?  When are you getting all this listening in?”  She has twice the kids, so half the time.  That’s how I see it anyway.  Honestly, I cannot remember what she said so that means, it didn’t look like my schedule so I continued to wander about in my podcast-less, unenlightened existence.  I consider myself pretty tech savvy but I could not figure out the EASY way to get WHAT I wanted to listen to on the right device at the right time.  Until I found this app: Focus Daily.  You’ve probably had it since its release date last fall, but I’ve just found it.  It is EASY and it’s with me all the time. I sleep better at night because I’ve joined ranks of cool podcast listeners...... noisy girl.

Ok, so??

Now I get to say, I was listening to this podcast the other day and..... I can’t remember who was speaking but one of the hosts, Julie, said this:

“By trying to control, I lose influence.”

I think the nice words for control are structure and organization.  You know, control covered with French Laundry fabric or packaged in Container Store...... well, containers.  Lovely.  Tidy.  I like that.

A lot.

{And, for the record, regretfully, none of this is French Laundry....} 
{But this is Sanders’ Laundry}
Systems create order and kids know where they fit in and they know where things are supposed to be when they need them or when they need to put something away and they know what is expected of them as vital members of the family.  Order should diminish stress to an extent-- fewer frantic episodes of running around looking for things that need to be in the car as we leave or that someone needs “RIGHT NOW!”  In general, organization cuts down on the chaos to sort through which is guaranteed to drain our energy.  Those cute duckies  birdies all lined up look very appealing.

Good organization skills are valuable to a home, to marriage, and to parenting.  Control is detrimental to all three.  When smart organization falls off the wagon, it erupts and smothers like control.  And, Julie said it, all influence is lost.  Why?  Our intentions are good.  Good intentions count for something, right?

I find the line easily blurs between homemaking, training and discipline of children, control, creating order, healthy structures and house rules.  If my need to control becomes dominant, things go awry.  When others see our home, they might think “Impressive”.  When my family experiences my desire to control, they think “Run!”

If the structure of organization I construct for my family is not built on the foundation of love and expressed in love for them, my structures will feel like a prison.  Run.  Escape.  Flee.  Stay away as much as possible.  I’ve lost the gift.... the privilege of influence.

A need to control mars it all, but love redeems it all.

I read somewhere, love doesn’t drive.  It leads.  Love has influence.  And by the power of the Holy Spirit, influence can have a part in the shaping of a life.  Right now, Julia has a piece of notebook paper tucked away on her nightstand full of blush-worthy questions for me.  She pulls it out every few nights and each time, I have had the opportunity to influence because there have been times in our home that Love has conquered my need for control.  By His grace, I am allowed that privilege with my 10 year old girl.  Huge. To. Me.

“By trying to control, I lose influence.”

I’ve got one shot at this parenting thing.  If Julia leaves our home at eighteen, I’ve already had more than half of my time with her.  I want to love her well and for her to leave our home with as little “baggage” as possible.  Light and free.  I want her to value the way our home was run, not resent it.  I want her to experience Love, not control.

Love.... His, mine, ours.


Freckled Pink said...

Such a good word for busy mommies, Krista. I am a very routine-oriented person, especially when it comes to home schedules. I've been reading through Proverbs and noticing how many dozens of times it mentions "planning" for peace and "planning" for righteousness. I am striving to be a wife and mom who plans for peace in my home, so that there are fewer of those "right now!" moments! :)

Sarah said...

Loved reading this one. Good words.

TJ Wilson said...

By trying to control, I lose influence.
My new parenting mantra.