“I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live.”
Deuteronomy 30:19 (The Message)
We have two teenagers in the house and one elementary school child. Looking back over this past school year, I’ve realized that God has been teaching me a big lesson regarding control … and how little of it I actually have in life.
Throughout the past five months, we’ve had the privilege of shopping for clothes for high school dances. First for our daughter who was on the homecoming court and most recently for our son who was nominated for the winter fest court. Neither shopping experience was pleasant at first. Soon, I realized I was the common denominator for that discomfort.
I haven’t learned how to give up control yet. I know in my head our kids are older and the independence they express is healthy and natural. Truly I do. However, my heart hasn’t quite received the memo it’s time to step back and watch them fly. Our kids are truly wonderful. They know how to stick with a budget, they shop within that budget and are extremely grateful for what they receive. The issue had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. To make matters worse … I’m not even sure I can articulate what exactly I was trying to control because they weren’t pushing back at all.
Three days later, I was driving home from dropping our youngest off at school and God brought these events back into my mind. I realized that a much smarter choice, for my personality, would be at the beginning to give them the allocated budget and then go ahead and participate with the intention of observing what styles and colors they gravitate toward, making the effort to get to know their preferences instead of injecting mine into the conversation. Oh how I wish God and I had this conversation on Saturday, the day before we went shopping!
However, He used that shopping trip to remind me it’s very similar to more important decisions people make in life. It is never my role to control any other human being. It’s my privilege to support, encourage, love and comfort my spouse, children and friends. It’s my job to teach, train, disciple and guide my children – but never does God tell me in the Bible to control another human being. Ever.
I wish I’d learned that lesson 17 years ago when our first child was born. However, with that knowledge now, and lots of practice to get it right, I hope to change the atmosphere in our house for the better. Despite my tendencies to try to control things (and people), my children have turned out pretty fantastic. In fact, going back to the shopping trip, I did excuse myself from the primary decision making and took a backseat role to my husband (forever the patient, non-controlling personality) and our daughter (the fashion guru who is amazing at giving suggestions and not taking it personally if they aren’t eagerly accepted). The final outcome of the shopping trip was a success – an outfit that our child feels confident in and peace among all family members.
Come back next time when I share an even more important time in one’s life that others should never try to control.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018