Thursday, July 29, 2010

What if you do theRight things but don't appear to have the Right Results?

You know those sharp looking articles that you find that tell you stuff such as the 7 steps to becoming a strong spiritual leader in the home? Well, this post isn't one of those..

While I find talking about spiritual leadership fascinating, I find providing it in the home challenging

I really appreciate what Joyce had to say about how you must start by leading yourself. If I don't have a vital, intimate, connection with, and commitment to, God - then how I can I spiritually lead my family? I adored what David said about knowing the dreams of those you're leading, and having an investment in seeing them fulfill their dreams. Constantly seeking how God can use you to help them accomplish their dreams. Good stuff.

I struggle.

If you would have asked me about this topic three years ago I would have had a whole lot to say. That was when my oldest son was finishing up his first year at West Point (the college he'd dreamed of attending), my youngest son was exceptionally interested in spiritual matters, and both my youngest and middle sons were getting top grades, excelling in sports, and consistent in their personal times in the Word and church attendance. Yes, in those days I would have thought I knew how to make things happen.

Since that time I've continued to do that which I knew to do: have a vital & growing personal relationship with God that included reaching out to others on an ongoing basis, have family dinners together, have prayer and praise be as natural to our home as breathing oxygen, encourage my children in their areas of giftedness, fervently pray on a regular basis with my husband for our children. But, now things are different.

My two younger sons aren't thinking I'm too great; in fact, they're thinking I'm rather terrible. Some of this is due to my allowing them to experience the natural consequences of some poor choices on their parts. Because a big part of my goals in parenting is to develop independent, competent in daily life, Christ centered, adults - I can't cushion their blows. Sometimes they've got to learn the hard way, from life consequences, why I've always told them to do, or refrain from, certain things. Some of this may also simply be part of the whole "teenage angst" thing - they don't feel so great and don't really know why, so it must be mom's fault. Some of this may do to that whole individuation process - them become separate, independent, adults. Some of this may be due to my own mistakes, sins, and poor choices. Whatever the cause, I question how I can be much of a leader to two young men who don't think much of me, who certainly wouldn't follow me anywhere that they didn't have to.

So - what's God teaching me about leadership in the home?

I guess that can be summarized by saying that I'm learning how live dependent on Him when I'm doing all I know to do, but am not right at this moment seeing the results that I think I should.

The Holy Spirit has encouraged my heart countless times with the words from Galatians 6:8-10 (MSG):

7-8 Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10 So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

I'm grateful that when it's all said and done, what is expected of me is obedience to what I know to do and then to trust God with the results.

What about you, what's God been teaching you about spiritual leadership in the home?


Tony C said...

Kudos Tracy! I know it must be tremendously diffcult to step back and allow natural consequence to happen, but it is completely the right thing to do.

Teenage years are challenging for all parties involved but a crucial time in the development of young adults who will soon have their own kids.

Plus, we can sure pray for each other as parents! I need your prayers.

David said...

Great job Tracy - hard to let kids suffer consequences. How many times did we tell them not to run in fip-flops, and brush their teeth?

We've asked our middle one to leave. She had one chore other than picking up after herself, $25 a week rent, and a curfew. She couldn't do it while others in the house are. (reminds me of legal vs illegal immigration) How should one get a free ride while the other one toes the line?

After a lot of grace; 4 distinct "get it together" talks, hugs, I love you's, a vacation to try to work things out, she has made her own choices.

Now it's over.

And BTW - Tony & Tracy (Joyce), Tevet and I pray for you and yours every week.

Joyce Lighari said...

@David - why I am in parenthesis?
@ Tracy - great word and yes this is extremely difficult. Take it from someone who knows, you do survive their teenager years and they do too. You'll learn a lot in the process.

Tracy said...

I wondered about the parenthesis too Joyce; as well as why David's kids are running in flip flops while brushing their teeth?!

Seriously, thanks for the encouragement you guys.

It's good to hear Joyce, that we will make it!

David -I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to ask your middle one to leave. This being a parent stuff is certainly not for the faint of heart! When I'm doing something that they hate and don't understand but I know is right, I keep reminding myself that I love my sons MORE than I love being popular with them, or having good feelings, or experiencing pseudo peace in the home. Know that I do pray for you & yours (and you too Tony!)

David said...

Well the original conversation was between Tony and Tracy. I didn't want to leave Joyce out because she is also on the prayer list, but was not yet part of the conversation.

And parentheses should make you feel important. ;O)

RCUBEs said...

While we always want to protect our children from any harm, it is just not realistic in this unpredictable journey.

I always pray sister Tracy for the Lord to train me first so I can be effective in training my own child. I know the growth I want to see in my child must start with my own. How else to do that but grow first in His ways?

I love your transparency! :) God bless.