5 Ways To Build Identity Into Your Kids | Weekend Challenge #2
There are some days when the urgency to do THIS WHOLE PARENTING THING WELL seems more on fire than on other days. Anyone know what I mean?
My daughter came home this week with stories about value, what really matters, what’s trending on Netflix, and the more she talked the more I felt myself turning into this tribal warrior that wanted to rise up and rage against all that wants to negatively influence her sweet soul.
Oh goodness, Lord, let me steward this gift of being a mom well.
We have so much power (really) with our children, with our words and with our actions. We have the absolute ability to speak life into their souls, to make them feel safe in our relationship, to make space for them to see themselves and the world in a healthy way. We also have the absolute ability to shame and shred them. I’ve seen the results of both in my own life, both as a child and as a parent.
God give us WISDOM to steward motherhood with massive amounts of courage and love.
This week, we’ve been talking about identity and how to fight for that in our own lives, and below I’ve got our second Weekend Challenge, so stay with me here. But as we think about our kids and watch them move through this life, no matter their age, how do we help shape and influence them to believe Truth in THEIR OWN LIVES?
How do we help build strong and godly identity in our children? The more I think about it, here’s where it comes down to for me:
1. Being kind to our kids matters.
A soft word does actually turn away anger. My kids need my love and my kindness like oxygen. I can get so caught up in the frenzy of the moment and my attitude follows. Things go sideways, and I worry and I wonder about their future. But here’s what I’m realizing. I’m not their future employer, I’m not their future teacher or spouse. I am their mom. That’s my role. And they need my love. They need my acts of kindness. Unconditionally. Today.
2. They are going to need other godly adults in their life. Pray about that.
Pray for the placement of godly adults in your children’s life. When I worked with students, I knew stuff about them that their parents did not. How that all got sorted out and revealed varied with each circumstance, but the reality was this: I was a trusted confidant by many kids and had a significant responsibility to that parent. What an incredible position, to influence a teenager towards Jesus in a time where their secrets and their private decisions need some wisdom from an outsider. My kids have coaches, leaders, teachers, all of them who pour into them in different ways than I can. Pray for those adults. Pray your kids connect with godly leaders. If you don’t know some, or have good ones in your life, ask God to show you and lead you to them. Pray a lot. I want my children to have other adults in their life, saying the same messages as me in ways they can hear it, because sometimes you just can’t hear it from your mama. Ask God for strong, godly influences in your children’s lives.
3. Give them work to do.
Entitlement makes me want to throw up, but it is everywhere. The other night I was watching one of my sons play in his basketball league. He was in one of about 12 half-courts in this huge arena, and I found myself looking around at all the shoes. Everywhere. Worn by pre-teen boys that cost more than any shoes I currently own in my own closet. I know I sound like every other parent right now, but PLEASE. My son thinks he needs a $140 pair of shoes. Of course he does, because SO DID WE
yesterday when we were their age – what is it about boots shoes?? My job is to help them understand the beauty of working hard and going out to buy that blessed pair of shoes himself. Chores and hard work bring about a self-worth that cannot be replicated and will go miles in aligning their identity.
4. Show love to others by inviting them into your life.
Joel and I have always had a million people in our house, whether they were living with us, having dinner, or watching a football game. But here’s what’s interesting – having a ton of people around us all the time has given my kids the opportunity to establish their identity. It’s taught them the value of hospitality. It’s shown them how to get creative (and fast) when they clean a house. It’s taught them how to interact, prepare a meal, and serve others well. Maybe you don’t like your home or feel like you can entertain. Please try it…for the kids. I use to care so much more about a neat and perfect house, but that has dialed way back in me in the past few years. My office is ALWAYS a stupid mess, and our carpet is awful. That’s okay, just c’mon over. Nobody cares, and what others really want is your kindness, your love, and a place to feel at home, even if just for four quarters of a game. Inviting others into your world will build a confidence in your children and a love to serve in their own home.
5. FIGHT for your own identity to be grounded in Truth.
This one might be the most important. How in the world can I lead my children well if I am not fighting for my own spiritual, emotional, and physical health? Determine to put yourself on a path of Truth. Stand up to the lies you have been believing all your life. Maybe it’s generations of lies that you don’t know how to fix…more on that in a few weeks…but decide that now is your time. This is YOUR time on the kingdom calendar, we don’t get a do-over. We get one shot at this whole thing, and today is the only day promised to us. Fight for your own identity to be grounded in Truth, and you will then lead your children towards the same.
Girlfriends, we all want to write a good story, don’t we? We want lives filled with great love and incredible adventure. But there is never a movie or a book or a story that doesn’t have its share of challenges, villains, hardship, and heartbreak. Our children needs us to do hard things with great hope in the Lord, because He is faithful. He can be trusted with our futures and our very lives. You are not alone, and don’t you believe anything else, sweet friend.
| WEEKEND CHALLENGE |
This weekend, I’m going to challenge you to pinpoint one lie. What is one message you keep replaying, one lie that you keep spinning as truth?
This week, I’ve caught myself smack in the middle of hearing old messages, full-sentences poured out internally that were completely false narratives about me, about my children, about my life. I’m praying God keeps my heart so tender to Him that these messages feel like complete foreigners in my life, and that I recognize them immediately. On one of those hard days, I found myself in my kitchen literally shaking my head against the lies, and agreeing with the Lord on the Truth of who I am, and whose I am. I grabbed onto our list from earlier this week and read it out loud to myself, several times, to remind myself of what is really going on here. That we do not battle against flesh and blood, but against a very real enemy who ultimately wants to destroy our family and faith.
Girls, we can talk about identity all day long. We can read about it, have good sermons on it, say a lot of amens about good words and good ideas, but at the end of the day our children are not going to care one drop about how much we know about it.
They’re only going to care about how much we believed God on it.
This weekend, take those repeating thoughts captive with the Truth of God’s Word. Write out a verse that speaks fresh life into your old patterns. For all those times you speak or believe that old narrative, replace it with what God says about you, because really, what He thinks of you is ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS. His love is big and real, and He is not messing around when He says that when you know the Truth, you will be set free. FREE. What would that feel like to live free?? Free from the lies that so easily drag us down, cause us to spin, and ultimately and tear apart our families.
Spend some time here this weekend…
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Ephesians 6:14
You have the most amazing opportunity to influence your children to live in the Truth. This weekend, take some time to re-establish that foundation in you.
For the next four weeks, we are taking some time out for the mamas.
The Madness of Motherhood Series will provide key truths and big encouragements for your mother’s heart.
If you know a mom who would be encouraged by this series,
invite them to join us here.
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