Okay, maybe a few things I do.
I want you to imagine something for a minute. Imagine that you’re playing with your kids by a calm stream in the Great Smokey Mountains. The forest is thick with lush green trees, the birds are chirping, and you feel the warmth on your back from the sun trickling through the leaves. There are no distractions from your smartphone. No emails to send, toilets to be cleaned, and errands to run. You are 100% focused on being in nature with your children and letting it nurture your soul. As you look at your kids playing in the water, entirely consumed with what their busy little hands are doing, you feel a deep sense of gratitude for these moments God gives you to enjoy life with your children.
Does this make you feel at peace? Or does it make you feel sad, knowing this is not your life? Perhaps both?
Why coping techniques are not enough
One can do many things to cope with our chaotic society and help us be a more patient parent. We can take deep breaths, do yoga, journal before bed, read a good book, go to therapy, take supplements, eat a healthy diet, and so much more.
But these remedies do not fully quench our aching souls or keep us from snapping at our children. They may help for some time, but before you know it, life catches up with you again, stressed from the demands of your job, your children, and keeping your home clean. You ask yourself how you’re supposed to get through another day of misery, wondering if this is it. Why is life so hard? Why don’t I feel joy anymore? Why do I always seem to fall short? Why am I always irritable?
Yes, life is hard. That is a fact for nearly everyone, and the sooner we accept that fact, the better.
But what if we could work towards a life that would fill us up instead of bring us down? Is it normal for us to feel so defeated and stressed, day in and day out? Or is this what society has done? Have we stopped experiencing peace and joy at the cost of conformity or comfort? Is the way most Westernized civilizations live actually a GOOD way to live? Or are we just existing and surviving, working harder than we play, and stressing more than we pray?
Have you asked yourself what kind of life you want to live and the world you wish to raise your children in? While there are ways to cope, this will not satisfy or even move you towards treating those around you with more patience and love. This will not be a permanent solution but rather a bandaid.
The ONE THING I do first to keep my cool
So the ONE THING I always do first with my weary heart as I’m about to lose cool with my children is to pray. Do I always catch myself? No. But when I do it right, I talk to my savior.
Nothing is more powerful to change the direction of your actions than going to God in prayer.
Some days may be a quick prayer, like, “Oh God, please help me be patient with my children.” While other days you may need to get on your knees and sob. But as I grow in my faith, I learn to pray with specificity and purpose. After all, there is nothing that God can’t do, and we often don’t receive because we don’t ask. So ask for all of it.
But here’s a tip. Locking yourself in your room has proven to work when you can’t get time alone lol. Just communicate with your kids first.
Try this prayer.
Take A Screen Shot: Ask God to help you put yourself in your child’s shoes.
“God, help me to put myself in my child’s shoes and recognize who I am to them and that when I’m angry, what that must feel like for them. To feel so helpless and small, needing someone all the time, and when you voice your need, to be met with anger. Give me wisdom on what to do with their big emotions. Help me wholeheartedly welcome the precious hearts you entrusted me with and handle them with utmost care. They are more precious than anything, so help me to view them this way and, more importantly, treat them as such. Give me eyes to see them for how You see them. I am sorry for my impatience. Help me to see myself through their eyes and be more conscious of my responses. Please protect them from my failure to not treat them as you want me to. Thank you for these little ones. Thank you for the privilege of motherhood. Thank you for always giving me another chance to respond in the Spirit and forgiving me when I don’t. Help me to be an example of Your love to my children so they will know Your love through me.”
This helps. Why? Because God hears our prayers. Because the Spirit of the living God is within us, we stop quenching it when we recognize it. Because God knows our children more than we do, we need only ask Him how to be the parent they need.
Are you living in obedience to God as you expect it from your children?
Why do we do this? We expect 100% obedience from our children, even though we are sinning. Whether or not our child obeys and listens to us is up to them. That’s between them and God, just like your actions are between you and God.
Hypocrisy is most lived out in family interactions. We find fault in our spouses and children before we look within at our own behavior.
I would encourage you to look within. You cannot and will not help your children succeed in obedience when you cannot be obedient yourself.
Being a good example will be one of your most significant assets in parenting. Model the behavior you wish to see in your kids.
Is your environment working against you?
You can create a less stressful environment for your family that will help all of you keep your eyes on Jesus. Will we ever be stress-free? No. But we can do our best to make our space peaceful and calm. This may look different for everyone. Perhaps you can’t move to the mountains and sit by babbling brooks as your children play. But there is always a way to make life less stressful, and it usually begins by putting our phones down. Or at least be conscious of what you’re filling your mind with.
The most toxic thing in your home
Have you ever tried a day without your phone? The enemy is using this device to destroy families, and sadly, he’s getting away with it. Why are we letting him?
Do whatever you can to prevent your phone from becoming more important than your child. Do whatever you can to protect your child from the contents of their phone. It’s come down to this. Their lives depend on it.
When you remove things in your life that cause frustration for your family, you’re welcoming peace into your home. You’re leaving room for God to speak to you and for your children to be heard.
For our family, God has shown us that the “normal” way of life is not for us. So we’re selling everything, packing up our family in our camper, and traveling the States for a bit, making memories that will last a lifetime. Then, we’re buying some land and working towards a simpler life.
I know that this is not for everyone. But for us, it’s something God is calling us to do. Not only do we desire to grow spiritually by removing distractions, but we also desire to heal physically. God uses nature to heal us from the inside out, and we welcome it with open arms.
Whatever you have to do to remove the things that are keeping you from living the life God has called you to, then do it. In all we do, may it glorify the Lord.
In this life, there will be trials. There is no escaping it, but rather allowing these trials to move you toward Christ.
I pray you read this and feel inspired to go against what society tells you to do and walk toward what God calls you to do.
When you remove the noise, you hear His voice more clearly.
Perhaps that babbling brook is more attainable than you think.