IDENTITY CRISIS WHILE PARENTING : realizing the big picture
This message of grace – God’s unmerited favor – being freely available to us is something that I struggle to wrap my head around. I have received His amazing love and amazing grace, not because of anything I have done or have not done, but simply because He is good. To think that my most valuable asset – that is being loved and saved by Him – has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him, is a complex truth that I may spend my whole life learning to accept.
So how then, do I teach this to my children? I love to teach them how to do things that I have mastered (i.e. – boiling pasta, vacuuming, threading a needle). But, to teach them that our identity is to be in WHO saved us, and not in anything we do. Wow, that’s a tough one. And something that I wrestle with – for myself – on a regular basis.
So then, my approach must be one of modeling this in my own life. We live in a society and time when so much emphasis is placed on WHAT our kids do. How many sports/teams/competitions/accelerated education programs/extra-curriculars are they in? As moms it is easy to fret over what other kids have exposure to, and how that will put our own children at a disadvantage (perhaps YEARS) down the road. And then it will be which college/degree/title/salary. It is easy to lose sight of the truth. That Christ died for them, and that this truth – His being alive in them – is enough. And that is where their feet should be firmly planted.
We all desire for our children to be successful in life. I challenge us to redefine “SUCCESSFUL.” I would like my children to grow up to be Jesus-loving, bill-paying, respectful contributors to society. I want their hearts to be passionate for mercy, justice, and humility. I want them to love people with abandon, because they recognize that He first loved us, and that this free gift is available, and we will never scratch the surface of His love for us. I desire generosity and graciousness in my children. And hopefully lasting marriages and lots of little cherubs for grandbabies (one day – far far away). I also would like them to complete degrees of some sort. I would like them to hold steady jobs. But the truth is, I want their identity to ALWAYS be Christ – regardless of status, age, weight, location, job, peer group, etc. Those things are fleeting. There is ONE THING that is steadfast in our lives. ONE THING that should define us. ONE THING I know will ALWAYS be there. And that is my Savior.
I am challenged, even as I write this, that this has to start now. If I want my children to be free from societal pressures to “arrive” at something, I need to train them in that now. We celebrate a goal made, a test aced, and a right decision. We encourage and affirm our children in what they do. But the louder voices in their heads must be us affirming them for WHO THEY ARE. For who God made them to be, and for how He is evident in them. I want my children to know they are lovely people, because that is God in them. Not because they scored the winning run or got a good grade. What it really comes down to is the question – would I love them any less when they play miserably and fail a class? No way. And I am imperfect and insecure. It is not in the success (or failure) of my children. It is not in my perfect (or imperfect) marriage. It is not in the way my kids do (or don’t) listen. I am a beloved daughter of the most High God. A daughter that He counted as worth dying for. A daughter whom He has set apart to do His work and to be about His business. A daughter upon whom He has poured countless blessing. A daughter who is undeserving, but oh-so-loved.
And not because of ANYTHING I have done. But because of the beauty of who He is.