“RECALCULATING…in .2 miles turn left..” It tends to mean I’ve missed my turn – which has happened a few times since moving to a new city. But sometimes, my GPS is wrong. Well, not wrong. It’s just that I decided to go my way, to take a route that I know is shorter. But when I do this, I continuously hear “RECALCULATING…”
Other times, I just give in. I go with what the GPS says, but all the while I’m mumbling comments, “This sure is a round about way,” or “This way doesn’t make sense.” I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve even talked back to this machine when I realize that I’m making the wrong turn, but it’s too late to correct my mistake. Before ‘it’ says the whole word “RECALCU…”, I’m venting, “I know, I know! I’m turning around!”
Even still, I’m very glad to have my GPS, my travel advisor. It shows me the way, it tells me when I’ve messed up, and it always has a backup plan. “RECALCULATING” is its word for, “Heads up, Teresa, I’m about to tell you an alternative way to get where you need to go.”
In life, I know that my God is the Source of all direction and strategy, every plan B, C,….Z that I may need to be an effective parent. I am glad, even relieved, that He has the big master plan to lead each of our children through their character development for them to fulfill the purposes He has for them. The catch is, He wants to use me (and you) to do it.
This means that we are the voice, the messenger, to our children – the one they hear and see and know as directing them. Sometimes, I have felt like a human GPS – that has to keep recalculating! I don’t mean giving step by step, block by block directions to our kids. I mean teaching and training them in general life themes like obedience, respect, being responsible, and getting along with others.
Some of my RECALCULATING THOUGHTS go like this: “OK, that consequence didn’t work; That conversation doesn’t seem to have made a difference; That wasn’t the approach to take; He didn’t receive my words AT ALL the way that I intended; That worked for the other 2 kids, but it’s obviously not effective with this one; I think I need to…; I think I need to stop…; I’m going to call…. and see what she does …”
In other words, I teach and train the standard, the direction that my child needs to take, but she just. won’t. follow. my. instructions. So, as she makes her decision, here I go again… recalculating. I don’t know about you, but over the years I’ve gotten to use my “RECALCULATING” voice quite a bit! Unfortunately, my voice has often not remained consistently polite – like the GPS, a mechanical device. I’VE GOT FEELINGS. My heart is affected by my children’s choices.
I get frustrated. If they would respond to my first approach, think of the things we could do in a day! There would be less talks, less consequences(for them to walk through and for me to come up with), less wasted time. We could enjoy each other more!
I get discouraged. Why don’t they want to at least try to follow my direction? Surely, they’ve had enough experiences with me to see that I have their best interests at heart.
I get hurt. Do they love me, really? Don’t they want to please me, just a little bit?
So, how’s your heart doing?
It’s important that we tell God these things. Too often we just press on, not taking care of ourselves by going to God, asking Him to attend our heart. The Psalmist reminds us,
“Cast your burden on the LORD and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55.22) We acknowledge our need for healing, that we aren’t superwoman, as we go to Him: “Lord, I give you my frustration about…, my discouragement about …, my hurt … Please heal me. Please help me…”
Our children, young and old, are not trying to frustrate, discourage, or hurt us. Actually, they are simply being the way we are – with our heavenly Father: Sometimes
we flat out ignore the directions that God has given us in the Scriptures. We know He loves us and wants the best for us, but sometimes,
we rationalize that our way makes sense. And most sadly, we know the extent to which God has demonstrated His love for us, yet we don’t obey anyway.
Dear Lord, You’re the Leader. Help me to follow – so that I will lead in the way – that my children will follow. Amen.