Thursday, September 28, 2017

The ONE thing I forgot…

I made a list.  I’m a list maker.  I can’t help myself!  This list isn’t the normal grocery list, Christmas list, mailing list, or “to do” list I regularly write.  It’s a list that’s even MORE important.

It’s a special list just for my boys.  I like to call it my “Mentoring to Manhood” list.  It’s a list of things to sort of help prepare them for the future… and for life!  (…or at least I hope it does!!) 

On this list you will find a variety of things… How to change a tire, How to sew on a button, Cooking, Cleaning, and the like…  It covers many categories. It’s filled with all of the things I think my boys need to know to be ready for life.  Well… life on their own that is.

It wasn’t until recently that it hit me that I was missing something pretty important on my list!  I’ve got a lot of things on my list mind you so it was quite eye opening for me.  I have:  Household goals, Financial goals, Car Maintenance goals, Home Maintenance goals, Professional goals, Social goals, Character goals, Spiritual goals, and Reading goals.  That’s all good and all, but this missing category has the potential to throw off all the rest if it isn’t in check.  I some how failed to factor in setting EMOTIONAL GOALS.

The missing category probably stood out to me more because my boys were both dealing with emotional issues.  Needless to say they weren’t reacting the way I had hoped.  Their reaction to hurt, offense, and the like has caused me to ask myself some hard questions:  

Am I helping prepare my boys in HOW to “process” life?  Am I teaching them HOW to emotionally handle the ups and downs that life may deal them?  

I guess I kind of hoped they would just watch my life and their dad’s (who handles things so much better than me) and follow suit.  But… as I look back across my life, I have to ask myself a question… “Have I handled things properly?”  “Have I ever or do I now carry around emotional baggage from the past?”

I visited a small group recently that was full of broken, hurting people. Life had hurt them.  People had hurt them.  They had been hurt A LOT over their lifetime.  As a result they carried emotional baggage.  They wanted to be free!  Some have experienced freedom in the group while others are in the process of getting there.  Healing is a choice, friends!

When we are hurt, what do we do?  I witnessed my boys’ reactions first hand and learned quickly that I haven’t been a good teacher.  Well… maybe I have dealt with things in the proper way personally, but I haven’t taught them well HOW to do the same.  Their preference when hurt by others is to get mad, shove the offense under the rug (not dealing with it), try to forget it ever happened, and move on with their life. 

Whoa!  This is definitely not the way to handle hurt!  Actually this pattern is NOT setting them up to walk in freedom, but rather lends to ADDING “baggage” to their lives at a young age.  

Following this pattern will only cause you to (1)hold on to the offense, (2)feed it by talking to others (which only makes things worse), and then (3) bury it inside of your hearts for safe keeping… thinking all is well.

The result is that offense begins to grow like a cancer undetected inside of you.  The fruit of this cancer becomes roots of un-forgiveness, bitterness, and anger. 

Check out the chart below I found that shows the destructive path of offense.  Some of us may have traveled this way before.

The scary thing is that those who are sick with “offense” have no idea it is there growing and festering inside of them until they explode unexpectedly without warning!  I haven’t even mentioned how deadly this can be to the spiritual LIFE of the individual.  It creates distance between them and God.  It gets harder to hear His voice and feel His presence because the heart is sick.

I do NOT want this for my boys!  So… with just a short time left for my oldest and another year or so left for my youngest I am adding to my special list a few more things…

-How to deal with offense
-How to truly forgive someone
-How to deal with disappointment
-How to deal with conflict
-How to say you are sorry and mean it
-How deal with pride and have humility
-How to deal with toxic people and be a good judge of character…

By no means am I finished yet with my list.  I’m trying to think outside of the box and pray about this… allowing God to reveal things to me to share with them… for “us” (my hubby and I) to share with them.   I realize I can’t shelter my boys from everything!  I know they will get their feelings hurt at times and be disappointed.  It’s inevitable, but if I can save them some pain or help them better prepare for what’s ahead in life then I want to do so.  After all, they are my babies and what else is a mom to do!

Have you made a list for your kids?  If not, I challenge you to do so.  Are you carrying around emotional baggage from a horrible past?  If so, I want to encourage you to give it to God.  He is the only one that can truly set you free!  Choose today to walk in freedom!

Living to leave a legacy,