Wednesday, September 2, 2015

66 Books to Remind Me

Sometimes in the midst of life-- no matter the season-- you just forget why you do some of the things you do.  As I parent, I have this ongoing list in my head of the things I know that are right to teach them, to require of them, to coach them along in, but because I roll over into task mode so effortlessly, I lose sight of the ‘why”-- which is really what matters. Sometimes, I snap out of it on my own and other times, a kids’ comment, a choice, a reaction to something has to explode in my face for me to realize my error.  The why, then, becomes very clear.  Explosion.  Just in the last few days.

My kids are older now and able to make a few judgment calls on their own.  A few.  They still need some direction in many areas, of course.  At 13 and 11, there are still conversations, cultural ideas, bad theology, even people and just plain sin that I want to protect them from for a tad longer.  I think, “I’ve got a little more work to do before I let them loose to navigate THAT.” But sometimes I don’t feel like doing the work.  And sometimes I let my guard down and forget. I am not sure which makes me madder.

No surprise, I know, but my best tool for this kind of work is His Word.  Day in, day out, moment by moment, thought by thought.  I can’t tell you how many times Romans 12:2 replays in my mind during conversations these days.  Verses 1 and 2 are foundational to any form of discipleship and as I watch my kids grow up in a different block of time than I did, verse 2 just gets bigger and bolder to me.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

On a basic level, the pattern of this world is no different than it ever has been.  We have been separating ourselves from God’s standards since, well, forever.  The gap is more gaping but the pattern hasn’t changed.  Influences of this world want our minds, our lives, our hearts to be conformed to their patterns, their ways of thinking, their lifestyles, their preferences.  That is why it is so critical that WE and our kids are shaping our ideas about culture and responses to culture by reading His Word, allowing Him to shape all of our thoughts so as words filter through, they can be either labeled as Truth or as lies— or just plain nonsense.  I have wondered many times how many of my thoughts/ideas are conformed to this world and I don’t even realize it—and worse, if I am passing on Krista-isms on to Julia and Brighton. I pray often that any darkness in me would be revealed by the light of His Word.

I previewed a show the other day the kids were interested in watching and was intrigued by two things:  It was a GREAT show-- good writing, interesting characters, complex plot.  Number 2- However, even in the first episode {the only one I watched}, the agenda was clear.  Blur the lines between right and wrong.  “There is no right or wrong”.  One character had an attribute that was forbidden in his surroundings -- punishable by execution -- and as he struggles with it, he tells a confidante, “I was born this way.”  And later, “I am not a monster, am I? Tell me why I am like this.”  And later, "It just happens.”  It’s a little like the problem I had with the really good movie Inside Out.  I SO wanted the little girl to have some CONTROL over her emotions- for HER to be able to choose and not be victim to the whims of her emotions.  We do have choices, right?  Our culture is ALL ABOUT choice, yes?  The writers are masters at conjuring up empathy for these characters.  We’ve just got to be mature enough to discern whether it’s a healthy empathy or not— and coach this in our kids.

These are subtle and blatant messages that paper the walls of our kids’ minds.  Our minds.  A steady diet of what we see on any screen will AFFECT THE WAY WE THINK- translating into responses or reactions and become the way we live.  And all of that influences greatly every relationship we have-- whether with a spouse, a boyfriend, a son or daughter, a friend, co-worker, our parents, the cashier or the waiter.

I love the kids my children get to hang out with.  These sweet faces are just one more motivation for my kids to be GOOD friends and an influence that blesses these people. 

This is why I can’t forget why I do some of the things I do-- WHY it’s important for my family to be in His Word regularly, WHY I preview things, WHY I review things with trusted sites, WHY I talk through things with my kids so I can hear how they understand something--in light of what they’ve been taught-- or what they’ve caught.  They need to be able to recognize the pattern of this world for themselves and be diligent to renew their minds all day long.

I want their “transformation” to be a heart decision because of time spent in His Word and not a behavioral modification to please me.  I want their non-conformity to be their heart’s desire birthed from their love for the Savior and not because they get to keep their privileges.  The good news is that I can’t create this.  I can direct, coach, advise the “heart why”-- but I can’t create these kinds of desires.  The Holy Spirit through His Word can.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Matthew 5:6
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

Only He can conjure up this kind of appetite.  I pray it will be so in my kids.

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