Motherhood the pressure to be the perfect example is something we can all relate to as we think about raising our children.
I’m sure we can all relate to the fact that we have failed miserably in this area of trying to be the perfect example for our kids.
I have to chuckle as I write this because when I say it out loud and type it out, it sounds ridiculous that I would have such unattainable standards of perfection for my motherhood.
Unfortunately, I have held to this ridiculous standard of being the perfect example for my children and I am thinking you probably have as well. You know that gnawing feeling at the pit of your stomach after you “lose it” when you’ve tried to stay calm and gently guide your child for the 50th time (slight exaggeration) to clean their room. They nod their head as if they are going to do it but then you go by their room and it looks exactly the same as it did before with the same dirty sock hanging from their pillow. So you carry the weight of not having responded well throughout your day. The struggle is real.
Maybe for you, it’s the exhaustion of carrying the weight on your shoulders that you have to get this parenting thing right or your kids will not be successful.
The struggle as ridiculous as it sounds is REAL.
In our Summer Reading Club, we are chatting about chapters 1-3 of the book Mom Set Free by Jeannie Cunnion and she mentions this very thing. She reminds us of the freedom found in pointing our children to the example of Christ instead of trying to carry the pressure of being the perfect example. Here’s a wonderful reminder from page 15 in the book,
See, our enemy Satan works tirelessly to make us believe that God is relying on us to be the perfect example for our kids to follow. Why? So we will keep our hope anchored in ourselves rather than in Christ. He knows that our mere trying harder to be better tomorrow will steal our joy, kill our hope and destroy the freedom Jesus calls us to walk in.”
God will not only use your marriage but also your motherhood to make you more like Him and to draw you closer to Him.
We get this backward all the time.
Listen closely–our spouse and our children are gifts and instruments put in our lives by God to draw us closer to Him and to make us more like Him.
My Parenting Formula Failed
There are verses in the Bible like Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way they should go and they will not depart from it.” that makes us think of parenting in a formulaic way. If I do this then they will do that.
As a family educator and counselor, I will tell you that most parenting books and workshops have that same “formulaic way” feel to them. So when we read verses like this one in Proverbs we see them as promises but we will find ourselves in shock when A +B does not equal C.
I fell into this formulaic parenting trap and woke up to the reality that although I have a responsibility to train them up in the way they should go– it’s not all up to me. Nor is this verse a promise declaring that when I do this then my kids will “not depart from it”.
You see the book of proverbs is not a book of promises. It’s a book filled with general wisdom and principles to help us guide us in life. I heard a preacher once say it like this about the Proverbs, “General truths, are not eternal commands. Principles, are not promises.”
Let’s Take a Look at the 3 Invitations We are Given:
Here’s a brief glimpse of the 3 chapters. In Chapter 1 “The Pressure to Be Enough” we are given an invitation to stop trying so hard(found on page 11):
- lay down what God has not asked us to carry so we thrive in what He has.
- discover God’s acceptance of us and affection for us just as we are.
- stop trying so hard and start enjoying our kids more.
In Chapter 2 “The Pressure to be the Perfect Example” we are given an invitation from Jesus to lean into Him(found on page 20):
- Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (based on Matthew 11:28-30)
- You have been set free from being perfect for your children. Jesus has already accomplished a perfection that you can rest in.
- To parent in the “unforced rhythms of His grace,” we need to accept the Good News that our children’s hearts are not wholly dependent on our performance as a parent.
- We need to accept that what we get right and what we get wrong is not what will ultimately determine who our children will become!
In Chapter 3 “The Pressure to Be in Control” we are given an invitation from Jesus: I invite you to trust me!
Which invitation is God nudging you to accept in this season of your life?
When you find ourselves crumbling under the pressure to hold all things together, that’s a good indicator that we have forgotten the supremacy of Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created… and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17)
Now it’s your turn! Share in the comments below some of the things that stood out to you as read or what God was reminding you of throughout these chapters. Join us next week as we go over Chapters 4-6. Make sure you’re following along HERE to get our updates and free printables. You can see the full schedule here.