I know a few people who absolutely prefer and embrace their alone time. They almost crave to be alone more so than they crave relationships. My personality however, can’t even begin to relate to wanting or even needing alone time (I know, that’s crazy right?!). I loathe being alone (again, I must be bonkers). I think the only time I’m ever really alone is when I close the bathroom door- and my 4 kiddos don’t actually let me have privacy most of the time so I better lock it or I’m never alone.
Perhaps those who crave their alone time recognize that our culture speaks to us in so many ways that unless one lived far off on a deserted island, we’re going to be constantly influenced by the voices of signs, magazines, commercials, friends, family, strangers, the conversation overheard while waiting for the doctor, etc. All of which will be telling us how to look, how to raise our children, how to be the perfect wife and mother, how to have the cleanest home or the best party. We are so rarely ‘alone’.
All the Voices
The voices are trying to get us to buy into the Perfect Box. They want us to live in the Perfect Box. I’ve tried to get myself into the box and I think Pinterest can be such an encouraging realtor. Pinterest is a Perfect Box trap for me. I marvel at the creativity and think how I might measure up and be pinned and repinned. Have you seen the blog who tries to recreate pinterest pins and “NAILED IT” (producing total failures)? Now that’s what I call satire!
Luckily, and thanks to homeschooling with 4 kiddos, no amount of Pinterest Realtor pizazz will be enough to get me into the box. But, I still find myself searching how “to do it better” in the way of a mother.
One of our greatest treasures has been the gift of parenting. It’s a huge task and I will only have one chance to get it right. This week I went to our ladies prayer meeting at church and as I entered the building there were stacks of parenting books (2 titles) surrounding the Welcome Center. They peaked my interest right away and I knew “I just had to have one of the books”. Perhaps these books would make me the #1 parent out there. I’d acquire a new skill or technique and be able to handle XYZ with finesse. Maybe, I’d even be looked upon as “a mom with 4 great and well behaved kids that any mother would want to ask advice of”- sigh.
I bought the book.
With no fault of anyone but myself, it was my own desire to ‘fit in the box’ and to live in Perfect Box world that had me buying the book. Information is good and I would never say “don’t buy parenting books” but my motives weren’t largely educational. They were over-achieving parent motives.
I’ve never taken those personality tests but I bet if I did they’d say something to confirm my over-achieving-type-A-wanna-live-in-the-perfect-box-martha self. Regardless of how I’m ‘wired’, I think it’s all about maturity and perspective. I’m working hard to parent well and live according to a purpose (His purpose) but there’s always a lot of room for my control needs to mess it up.
The Ultimate Voice
I have a few pieces of scripture that help me along my life road. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it Proverbs 22:6 is one that is well known and used often. Our pastor just did a sermon that talked about the first part of the verse. He challenged us to be thinking of “the way he should go” in terms of who the child was meant to be; in terms of how we discipline. There is no guarantee that our children will choose Christ because we train them too. Therefore, looking at the scripture with a thought that if I train them they will become a Christian is a false understanding. So, instead, think about these little beings, entrusted to us, and who they are at the core. Are they kind? Athletic? Thoughtful? We all see personality early on—what is it saying about your child? Train them to be the best they can be (according to the promises of God) and they will not depart. Weave it all together with your heart strings (because the treasure is there too!). This I think is the Ultimate Voice that we need to hear.
Who are your kids at heart? Are you training them to be that of which God has gifted them? What’s your favorite verse that helps you stay focused?
** with 4 kiddos, my editing isn’t perfect- but I’m still gonna write 🙂