I’ve been a parent for twelve years now, and in that time have made all kinds of mistakes. I’m sure I’ll make loads more before it’s all said and done. There are several lies about being a mom that I realize I’ve believed over the years that have contributed to those mistakes, some of which I still struggle with. I believe that exposing the lies of the Enemy is a powerful way to defeat him, so I thought I’d call him out on a few of them today.
Lie #1.) Success Can Be Measured By How I Feel About Myself As A Parent
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ~ Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
This is one I struggle with on a daily – even hourly – basis. I buy into the lie that if I attain the holy grail of a spotless house, or have healthy dinners planned and cooked for a week straight, or maintain the laundry and have clean-nosed, tame-haired children I’ve really arrived. If my child is polite and well-behaved, or answers the hard questions in Sunday school correctly, I’m a good mom because I feel good about myself.
But the truth is, those feelings of victory are few and far between, and are honestly no more an indicator of success as a parent than fluttery feelings of infatuation are in indicator of love. Real success at parenting can only be measured by God, and His standards are often upside-down from the world’s, or even our own. Success as a parent involves sowing invisible seeds into an invisible kingdom, and having faith that God will take them and do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine with them.
Success for each parent may look vastly different, and that’s okay! It equals obedience to the voice of the Shepherd, and no one else. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings.
Lie #2.) Loving My Children Is Enough
Before they were even born, I loved them. As I get to know them better, I love them even more. And there have been times when I’ve been tempted to believe that loving them is enough. That there’s no way I could go wrong in parenting them as long as I just keep on loving them. But experience has taught me that this simply isn’t true.
I could love a child right into bad habits. I could love them into laziness or materialism. I could love them and get so wrapped up in enjoying them that I miss some of the responsibilities I have to feed them spiritually. And I have. I’m trying to redeem some of that time now, but it takes discipline and time and intentionality and frankly that’s hard.
Lie #3.) Making My Children Happy Is Best For Them
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” ~ Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
I love seeing my children happy. I love surprising them with gifts or fun outings. I love those precious (yet fleeting) moments when they are all happy and content and playing together in perfect harmony. I dread the temper tantrums of my little one, sometimes to the point where I forego discipline in the name of peace. I don’t want my older boys to deal with discomfort or hardship, so sometimes I bail them out of mistakes to prop them up and keep them from experiencing the natural consequences of their actions. But this isn’t true love, and if I’m honest, it’s even selfish.
I don’t want to have to see them unhappy, even if it would be for their long-term good. Acting in love would mean I would have to suffer their suffering. But all discipline is painful at the time. It’s the sowing of those invisible seeds that “produce a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who are trained up under it” that will make it all worth it in the end.
Lie #4.) There Is Plenty Of Time For Discipleship
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” ~ James 4:14 (NIV)
When your kids are little, it seems like they’ll always be there. My oldest is almost twelve, and I’m starting to panic a little as I see him growing into a young man right before my eyes. I’m starting to realize that these influential years with our children are fleeting.
Satan would love for us to believe that there’s plenty of time for discipleship, so we will put off until tomorrow what we really should be making a priority today. Because tomorrow turns into next week… then next month… then next year. And while the days seem long, the years are so short.
Intentional discipleship needs to happen now, regardless of the ages of our children. I have written a book about discipleship, but that doesn’t mean I have it all together by any means; I have to remind myself of this every single day. Sometimes it gets away from me, and I look back on weeks of plodding away on the treadmill of life without being intentional about feeding my children God’s Word.
Lie #5.) My Children Will Naturally Absorb My Faith
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-8 (NIV)
I still remember when I realized this for the first time. It seems so obvious now, but when my oldest son was younger, I mentioned a Bible story and he had never heard of it. It shocked me! It was like I just assumed my child would have known the story because I knew it. I realized at that moment that it was the same with his faith. He wouldn’t automatically love God the way I loved God just because he was my child. As a parent, I was responsible for ushering him into the throne room to meet Jesus. But after that, it would be up to him; his faith would have to be his own.
As parents, we are stewards of some of the most precious gifts God has to offer in this life. I hope that sharing some of the lies I have struggled with (and in some cases still do) will rob them of their power in your life as a parent, and empower you to move forward in boldness and intentionality to disciple your children!
What About You?
What are some of the lies you’ve believed about being a mom? What are your success stories? Share with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.
If you would like some tools to equip you to feed your children spiritually, I’d love to share my book, Malnourished: Equipping Parents to Battle Spiritual Poverty on the Home Front with you, as well as the Malnourished Bible Study Companion for Women. I’m going to be giving away 3 free paperback sets of the book and study in a giveaway, so sign up here if you are interested!
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