“Now that I’m older, I’m free from worrying about that any more. It feels so good!” My friend Winnie said this to me yesterday at church. Winnie is a lovely Christian lady who has held fast to her faith through life’s storms. She is now pursuing a college degree in her 50’s and tutoring college students on the side.
“I am free from so many false beliefs that I had as a young wife and mother.” I replied. “Why didn’t we learn these lessons earlier?” I said to Winnie.
This caused me to reflect on just what some of those erroneous ideas were. These were thoughts I held that kept me in bondage and fed feelings of guilt. Here is a list of some of those toxic thoughts:
* I must have a perfectly clean house before I invite anyone to visit.
* If I invite guests for dinner, the food must be homemade.
* If I am feeling overwhelmed, I must never admit it.
* If I haven’t had a quiet time, I don’t have anything of value to share.
* I’m a bad mother if I yell at my kids.
* I’m a bad mother if my children act up at library story time.
* I’m a bad mother if my children run around at Sunday School.
* I must have a “ministry” outside of my home.
These are just a few of the things that weighed me down as a mother of young children. As you can see – there is some truth in each of these beliefs – but there is much that is false. Those lies kept me frustrated and often full of guilt.
I wanted to have people over, so I would wear myself out cleaning up. I was crabby and demanding of my children – once I even locked them out of the house until the kitchen floor dried after I had mopped it. They have NEVER forgotten this and enjoy seeing my discomfort as they tell people I used to lock them out of the house. To set the record straight – I did that ONE time!
I am not a natural cook – it is an effort for me to make tasty meals. Yet I thought I had to make everything from scratch if I was having guests.
I also gauged my “success” as a mother by my children’s performance. This was partly because as a former teacher, I measured my success as a teacher by how well my students learned. I took this same attitude to my efforts in parenting.
Jesus says in John 8:31-32
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
As God began to teach me His truth, I was set free from those falsehoods that held me in bondage.
* People come to visit people, not the house. Four children make messes.
* I can buy pre-cut salad – no one cares.
* I must admit my weakness so my husband (or friends) know I need help.
* My relationship with God is based on His grace, not my quiet time.
* If I yell at my kids, I ask forgiveness.
* If my children act up at story time – I teach them respectful manners.
* If my children run at Sunday School – I teach them proper behavior.
* When I feel “I’m not doing enough for the Lord”,
I remember that my family IS my ministry.
The TRUTH does set us free from the bondage of quilt and frustration.
As Winnie said – “It feels so good to be free!”