October 7, 2011
But Everybody Else is Doing It
"Here's what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?" 1 Kings 3:9 (MSG)
"Just because everybody else is doing it, doesn't make it right." The infamous words my mother would say to me were now flowing out of my own mouth.
Each time I utter these words, my teenagers know they won't be allowed to do whatever "it" is that "everyone else" is supposedly doing.
I know being a teenager is hard. I remember the deep need to feel accepted, well-liked and included. I also remember that my desire to do what "everybody else" was doing was sometimes so overwhelming, the pressure to conform could override good judgment.
Even as a grown woman, I sometimes find myself grappling with those same emotional needs of feeling accepted, liked and included in social circles, whether at work, my children's school, church or neighborhood. As a result, I can become so focused on "fitting in" with other moms I inadvertently succumb to the pressure to conform to what "everybody else" is doing.
Have you ever hesitantly pushed aside your convictions, by reasoning that "all the other moms are letting their kids do 'it'...so maybe I should too?"
I admit I've fallen for that line of reasoning before, and later regretted it. But it has helped me remember whether I'm young or old, the desire to belong and the pressure to conform is very real.
Being a Christian parent of teens can be an overwhelming calling. As life gets more complicated and parenting decisions get tougher, emotional exhaustion can slowly creep in, giving the devil a crack to wiggle through.
Recently I experienced a bad case of parental exhaustion. I remember asking God for wisdom and discernment about a decision we needed to make. Immediately, God reminded me of a time when Solomon felt a lot like I did.
In 1 Kings 3, we learn that when Solomon took over the throne from his father David, he felt overwhelmed and under-qualified to rule as king. One day he went to the shrine to worship and pray and God appeared to him in a dream saying, "What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!" (NLT)
Solomon could have asked for anything, such as riches, power, victory over his enemies or a long life—but instead he asked for wisdom to carry out the assignment God had given him. And it pleased God greatly.
Solomon was not equipped to lead until he sought God's direction above all else, and we won't be either. In the same way that Solomon knew he needed God's wisdom to fulfill his calling as king, we need His wisdom to successfully fulfill our calling as Christian parents.
When we rely on God's Word, His judgment and His understanding in our parenting decisions we will have what we need. When we choose not to go along with the crowd and encourage our children to take the road less traveled, God will be pleased.
Although we'll never be perfect parents, aren't you glad we can always seek and rely on wisdom from the One who is?
Dear Lord, give me a God-listening heart that seeks your wisdom. Come alongside me in this journey of parenting, and help me stand strong against the pressures of the world. Infuse me with Your strength to persevere, and help me not to give the devil any wiggle room in my heart, or the hearts of my teens. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Visit Tracie's blog for more encouragement on staying strong as a Christian mom.
Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parent Needs to Know by T. Suzanne Eller
The Divine Dance: If the World is Your Stage, Who are You Performing For? by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio
Make a list of times you are tempted to do what "everyone else is doing" as a parent or in other areas of your life. Then write prayer asking God for wisdom and the desire to please Him above anyone else, including your kids and their friends' parents.
Re-establish some rules if needed, based on God's Word, and have a heart-to-heart talk with your teens about them.
Have I allowed my teen to participate with people or social activities that I do not feel good about, just because it seems that all the other moms are?
Is it possible I have allowed my parenting exhaustion to affect my decisions?
James 1:5, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." (NLT)
Proverbs 22:6 "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." (NLT)
© 2011 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 07 October 2011.