Relationship vs. Rules and managing freedom.

Ok so I wanted to blog every day but I wasnt planning on getting an ‘inner-ear disturbance’ last week. :/ I woke up last Saturday with severe vertigo and vomiting.  My eyes were like those plastic crafts you glue on Christmas Projects that wobble around, if I even tried to look still. Went to the ENT and thats where I got that diagnosis, the whole thing was scary to me. Surreal. Our health is so precious, but so fragile.

Anyways, I have had a lot of time to just be still and think. Which some days its been good and some days its been bad. I turned 31 last month, which was kind of weird for me. When I was at the Dr, he tells me, ‘At your age, you need to be getting regular physicals, blood-work, etc.’ I was stunned as I shook my head in compliance. At my age!?? So, recently its been a real time of processing life and re-evaluating. When you start re-evaluating, its hard to stop.

I dont know where this blog is headed, maybe its already in the tank. But I have been reading a few books I feel like are sent from God for me where Im at right now. The first one is ‘Mad Church Disease’ and the 2nd one is ‘Loving your kids on Purpose.’ The first one I hope to write a review soon on. Its left me every time I put it down with my jaw open. Somehow the author got inside my head and knows what Im feeling. The 2nd one about Parenting is from Janelle.

Where we’re at on Parenting..

I absolutely LOVED the book by the Pearls. Michael and Debbie. I love their ‘No Greater Joy’ Ministry. We read the book, followed it and got outstanding results. (probably should insert this is my opinion, some may be like, ‘you are smoking crack, Sarah’..) Well, fair to say we got results when we followed the methods. There would be times when we ‘checked out’ and our kids got out of control but we were usually always able to bring order back to the chaos with the help of the Pearls. We loved Denny Kenaston too. But where Im at now, is that the kids are pretty obedient. They will listen, they rarely need to be corrected besides anything verbal. They are really good kids.

But they are getting older.

I find myself worrying about them becoming a part of the Kingdom of God. If they will accept God, if they will catch a glimpse of Him, spending the rest of their lives running to Him with passion and zeal. I guess Im 2nd guessing my parenting up to this point. Do I have their hearts? Is obedience enough? Has my example been enough? I have screwed up so much! (sort of goes along with my re-evaluating of my own life..)

Something was said in church the other day by someone that I have been trying to understand, mostly because its been something Ive been struggling with in my own thinking. From what I can gather the dispute was; being spirit led, listening to the spirit of God within you and letting it convict you as you walk vs. Being obedient and having someone tell you what to do. This person said their father would beat him and tell him not to smoke. His Dad didnt give him the choice in the matter.

Here is my problem with that. Because normally I would agree! But as my children get older, Im realizing if I dont have their hearts, I dont have anything. Im sure you can have your childrens hearts as you beat them (?) But as they get older, using the rod should be less and less (once you are past the no-no, dont-touch training stage) and talking heart to heart with them should be increasing.  This part of this book below just jumped out at me and I feel like hit the nail on the head. Dont you love it when someone articulates what you are feeling? I do. When thoughts are too jumbled to make sense, I love when someone can offer some clarity..

He starts out talking about obedience. How when Jesus was talking with the Pharisees, and they asked Him what the greatest commandment was, His response was ‘To love God, love your neighbor as yourself.’  (Luke 10:27). Now I will quote. “The greatest commandment is love. These Pharisees had hoped He was going to say, ‘Obey this commandment,’ because their culture was steeped in the priority of obedience and compliance to “the rules”. In one fell swoop, Jesus promoted relationship above the rules. Love and relationship are the bottom line of the Kingdom and must be ours if we wish to establish a Kingdom culture in our homes.”

He goes on.. and this is where I really felt inspiration.

“There is a huge difference between culture where obedience and compliance are the bottom line and a culture where relationship is the bottom line. This contrast is perhaps seen most clearly when people fail. Imagine this: your 6th grader comes to you with his report card, which reveals a failing grade. How do you think you would respond? For most parents, their immediate attention is to the childs lack of compliance with his school environment or your expectations. You may work to set your child back on the right track by communicating your anger towards them or giving them instructions on how to behave better.

There is nothing wrong with this approach to dealing with the problem in general. But it perpetuates a problem if the parents are using it to reach an inferior goal, because it never really addresses the heart issues that lead to the mistakes in the first place. Until our children learn to deal with what is going on inside of them, they simply cannot learn to manage freedom.

….Heaven’s culture of relationships is vastly different than most everything we see on Earth because God the Father is less interested in compliance and more interested in love. This is the reason He is trying to prepare us to live absolutely free lives in an environment of unlimited options more than trying to keep us from sin.”

Did you read that last line!?!?

This is the reason He is trying to prepare us to live absolutely free lives in an environment of unlimited options more than trying to keep us from sin.

Finally! Someone put my thoughts into a cohesive sentence! This is the goal of heaven and should be our goal in Earth! Its not so much that I want to beat my children into submission, or express my severe disappointment every time they fail. I want them to be able to LIVE FREE lives in environments of unlimited options! Isnt that what God is doing with us?

I want them to be mature enough to be able to handle freedom, to learn how to walk in the spirit and let the spirit of God check them where they need to be checked. Im not always going to be there to spank them and tell them no-no. They know right from wrong, now I want to be able to let them go into this world and make decisions. My hope for them is to know who they are in Christ so much that it wont matter who they are around or what environment they are in. This is, to me, the church. I cant worry that I dont have control over their lives, that they are going to be influenced wherever they go. The Kingdom of God should be full of Christians, who like salt, do the influencing on anything they are around.

So, thats my hope, where I want my parenting to go. My goal. Im so thankful someone articulated what I have been feeling. Everything is so confusing, when I read something that makes sense its so exciting. Now that I see the goal, I want to help guide my children to it.

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3 Responses to Relationship vs. Rules and managing freedom.

  1. Janelle says:

    Amen! “In one fell swoop, Jesus promoted relationship above the rules.” I just love that line! So many good things in that book. I need to keep it at the forefront of my mind. And I know what you mean about when truth resonates with you. You just can’t go back to the confusion once you’ve seen a truth for what it is.

  2. Gina says:

    Great thoughts… I loved that line about the goal of preparing our children at home – to be able to live freely – free to love, to worship, to serve God. When we come down, I got dibs on that book next;)

    Your post really hit where it matters most – because things have become more about compliance then about our relationship, not only with each other but especially with God. But God is on the move, He is shaking us awake…

  3. bellissimanh says:

    “I find myself worrying about them becoming a part of the Kingdom of God. If they will accept God, if they will catch a glimpse of Him, spending the rest of their lives running to Him with passion and zeal.”

    Oh, girl… I am SO with you. I’ve come (slowly) to the realization that if God is truly sovereign (as I believe Him to be), then He’s got this one and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. He has no grandchildren, only sons and daughters…so it’s vital that they develop faith of their own, and not assume that mine is enough to get them there. My prayer each day is that my children will experience Christ for themselves… that they will come to love Him with a passion and seek after Him above all else. I trust that He will do that in their lives, according to His will.

    Here’s my fear, though… I know what it took for Him to grab hold of MY heart, for Him to grab hold of my husband’s heart… and how I pray that it won’t take circumstances as heartbreaking and difficult for them. I know that it will be different for each of them… but how I pray that they will not need to be devastated before looking up. I know that it doesn’t HAVE to be that way (my sister has known and loved the Lord her entire life, and is a solid believer today). My prayer is that they will develop childlike faith that will follow them their whole lives… that He will captivate their hearts even now, at tender ages, and that they will never desire to try to find their own way. At the same time, I pray with Jesus, “Not my will, Lord… but yours be done.” Whatever it takes… take them.

    Praying for all our children. 🙂

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