Sunday, August 25, 2013

Early Riser

I woke up this morning at 5:48 it was time to give myself a good talking to.  I had a come to Jesus moment and it had to do with my language.  Don't everyone hold their breath it wasn't the swearing that I was having a moral crisis over.  It was the way I talk to my children.  I don't swear at my kids mind you, but I can be harsh.  My tone, my snappy nature, the immediacy with which I want them to do things.  

It's inappropriate.  
It's unacceptable.  
It's not my heart for my children.  
It's not loving.  
It's unkind.  

They are modeling it with how they talk to each other.  And that is NOT OKAY!  So I sat with myself this morning.  Satan had his way for about 5 minutes being my accuser, his forte, before I let God take over...

I may or may not have just jumped up yelling at my kids while typing this blog post.  Because Satan, he's a smart one.  He knows if he defeats me in the middle of this post it won't get written.  And if it doesn't get written it doesn't get published then I might not get the support I need in this area and other people might not get the motivation they need to begin speaking more kindly to those that they love.  

Life has been stressful lately.  I wish a had a word that was more weighty than stressful.  I'll settle for uber stressful.  It has not all be bad stress, although the stress that was bad stress was of some of the worse kind.  As a result I have somehow excused myself for the way I am speaking to my littles.  This folks is not okay.  They are children.  They are my children and although they exited this body that does not give me the right to treat them as if they are less important than me.  

I have had the crap of people treating their own family members however they want to and being pleasant as pie to everyone else.  What kind of a hypocrite would I be if I exercised that type of behavior myself?  I'll tell you, a pharisee type of hypocrite.  The kind that says - this is how you should behave, but you know what, my life is harder than yours so I'm not going to hold myself to that standard.  

That's not me folks.  That's not how I'm going to be, I'm not okay with that either.  

Here's the deal: I'm not perfect.  I'm a mom of three kids, young kids, who have more energy than 30 beagle puppies. I am doing this alone, and yes, that makes it a lot harder.  Much harder than most people realize.  If everyone I know throws their troubles in a pile chances are no one is going to trade their troubles for mine.  No one wants to be me right now and that's ok.  But if I use those things to cushion my ego and allow myself 'wiggle room' in how I treat my kids then I am a hypocrite.  

I can use those things to excuse a messy house, or frozen pizza dinners or my abhorrently long to do list.  I use those things to excuse my now constantly scatterbrained nature.  But I can never use those things or any other stressors in my life to excuse how I treat other people. 

Even if those people are 7 and under, 
Even if those people are here because I gave them life, 
Even if those people have a shrill scream that can make every dog in a 3 mile radius come running
Even if those people own legos - I hate legos
Even if those people cause me to be sleep deprived on regular basis
Even if those people are perpetually hungry and demanding about it
Even if those people will only ever constantly drink chocolate milk
Even if those people don't understand that their mommy just wants a little peace and quiet
Even if those people are talking to me before I have had my coffee
Even if those people solely use the tone of voice known as whining

Because those people are still people.  Whether they are my people or your people, they are definitely God's people.  God loves his people.  He loves even you, even when you're screaming and losing your shit because you're tired, you've been doing physical labor all day and there's no food in the house and all you want is something real to eat and to lay down.  He loves you then.  But he also is loving your children in that moment and he's loving them despite the fact that their hearts are hurting because you hurt their feelings.  

I'm going to say it.  I have hurt my kids' feelings.  That right there makes me feel like a failure.  I have a choice in this moment.  I can choose to embrace this feeling of defeat, I can beat myself up and I can lament on how horrible a person I am.  I can even tell myself that this moment when I screwed up defines me as a person.  

OR

I can choose another path.  God's path, a path of life and light.  This path is the one where I say:

Shannon, you screwed up.  Pretty majorly.  You said some things or used a tone that you're going to have a really difficult time forgiving yourself for.  You're concerned that the littles won't forgive you as well.  But you know how to fix this.  It's not hard.  You apologize, you get down on their level look them in their eyes and own it.  You ask them for their forgiveness, you accept that it might be instantaneous or that it might take a long while.  

After that, you develop a plan.  Because you know this is not how you're going to live your life.  The plan has to include you deciding what is and isn't worth losing your mind over.  The kids running into the street - go ahead honey, feel free lose it.  Shoes - totally not worth it.  Pick them up and throw them (the shoes, not the kids) in the car.  

Then the plan is pretty simple, monitor yourself.  If you're getting out of sync you know that you're more prone to lose it, so make sure you're taking care of everyone in your family not just the kids, take care of yourself too.  

Part of loving others well is loving yourself well.  When we have been ignoring and neglecting our own needs for sleep, good food, time to work out, etc, we are more likely to be short tempered with those we love.  While we're called to love our neighbors as ourselves sometimes we need to remember that our neighbors can inhabit the same four walls we do.  Make sure your mini neighbors are getting enough sleep, enough good food and enough exercise and enough momma snuggles.  Maybe just maybe you'll get lucky and they'll be a little less tyrannical with you.  And if not, if you've met your own needs (to the best of your ability) maybe you'll be better able to deal with the tyranny with grace.

I understand that some of you have highly stressful 60 hours a week jobs, others of you are managing toddlers and nursing little ones, so good sleep, exercise and preparing food all seem outside of your capabilities right now.  Try to find the grace that is needed to meet those needs in small ways for yourself.  I just know that no one wants to get their children successfully breathing to adulthood only to look back with a broken heart on the way you got them there.  

I want to look back after my children have flown the coop and be able to say, wow, I was far from perfect, but I followed God's most important command while they were mine and I loved them as well as I loved myself.  That is an admonition to love myself better and to love them realizing they are fully people now even as mini ones.  Tone, words, body language is something they notice, and they are not immune to yours.  

God give me the grace to love them well.  

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