Thursday, August 28, 2014

Strong People

Comfy chair. Check.

Drink. Check.

Laptop. Check.

Thoughts. Words. Anything but an empty brain? Not present, thank you very much.

I think it's party because my mind has been centered squarely on my kids since Monday, and then after that, it's been concentrating on finishing projects and organizing the house that looks like a bomb exploded in it ever since that last day of school a short ten weeks ago.

So here I sit, staring at a blank screen and a blinking curser, waiting for me to fill the space with something. Preferably words of wisdom, but honestly, I don't have any. I feel like all I can think about are other things, things that stress me out, things that are out of my control, beyond my grasp, leaving me feeling helpless. And maybe even a little forlorn.

You know how much I struggle with insecurity, placing my bets on appearance to get me through moments where I feel lost and afraid. I knew in the back of my mind that I'd eventually lose the bet, that it was precarious from the start, but the promise of beauty and the confidence connected to it seemed so reassuring. Get skinny and be happy. Okay! But now I've begun projecting my insecurities over weight onto my daughter, which is dangerous water to be treading in. This isn't news to me. I know how careful a mother has to be when it comes to her influence on her daughter. I fight it. Truly. I try really hard not to project what I was like at the same age onto her. But I know what I think and the things I worry about, and ya'll, it's not always admirable.

You know what I'm thinking right now?

That I shouldn't even be writing this. That this could all come back to bite me in the rear. (I'm sorry. I have a problem with the word butt. It's crass.)

I know what I should do. I know what I should say and what I should think. I know there is a fine line between my insecurity and teaching her how live above it. But sometimes my mouth opens before my brain thinks, and before I can suck the words back in, I've set us both up.

Another round in the ring. In one corner, me. In the other corner, Insecurity, waving it's victory flag before the fight even begins.

Sometimes you just want your kids to be everything. Popular and favored and not geeky and trendy and accepted and not different and prominent and attractive and wildly successful and superior in every single thing they do. And sometimes you might push for those things. And without really consciously acknowledging it, you might say things that would further your agenda, that would make you feel like your kids are making up for what you weren't. That they are the things that you couldn't be. And want to be. And all the while, we are sending the message that security lies in things like popularity and appearance and success. All things that can change before the sun sets on the horizon. All things that are notoriously ambiguous. So why is it so hard to speak truth in the midst of all the hype?

Maybe because truth puts us in the position of being exactly where we don't want to be.

Different. And swimming upstream the whole time you speak it.

Sometimes it's easier to just be swept away with the current. It takes a strong person to go against the tide.

We can be those strong people. We can teach our kids to be those strong people.

But it takes more than just being strong to do it.Our strength alone won't cut it, because we are human and we get tired and weary and distracted, and we get beat down by the steady drumbeat of pop and mainstream culture. Don't you just want to throw your hands in the air sometimes and shout Enough! I give in!

He gives strength to the weary...
{isaiah 40:29}

I have no strength to get in a fight. Dealing with insecurity for all these years has taught me that. I will lose every time. But in my weakness, I recognize that I need more than a few simple strategies to fight with.

I need God.

My steps backward happen a lot more than my steps forward, but it's when I look away from His face that it begins to affect my walk.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
{psalm 119:105}

Influence. We all have it. (Even on our kids, as much as they may say to the contrary.) May He help us use it positively.

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