Tag: Heart Values

The Treasure is Worth the Hunt

My husband Chris shared these thoughts last week and I thought you might enjoy hearing them as well.

A few weeks back my sons enjoyed geocaching for the first time with our friend Nicole. Searching the woods for a hidden surprise was exhilarating. It took some persistence, but the wait paid off when they discovered concealed containers filled with toys and trinkets.

Each of us can pursue the hidden treasure in our identities as well. Recognizing the “treasure” is Skill 6, Identifying Heart Values, but relationally expressing this treasure is a different skill altogether.

When we remember who we are and express our heart in the good and bad times, we express the “gold” in our unique design. This process sounds easy in theory, however, in reality it takes examples, practice and training. When something hurts or upsets us, it is all too easy for our values, tenderness and filters to fly out the window. Maybe someone cut us off on the road, we encounter a rude person, or our child disobeys for the “_nth” time. Whether we are sad, mad, afraid, ashamed, disgusted or hopeless, our brain must learn how to remain our relational selves while navigating negative emotions. This ability is a gift for loved ones to observe and do likewise. When this skill is underdeveloped, we revert to non-relational strategies that are often cringeworthy and guilt-producing.

This leads me to our long-overdue Transforming Fellowship thought of the day focusing on Skill 12, Acting Like Myself In The Big Six Feelings: “Life throws us curve balls. Unexpected problems interrupt and plague our day. We live in a world where people hurt us and relationships create distress. Instead of trying to isolate ourselves from the many disappointments that can derail our relational brain, we can learn how to stay our true selves as God designed us when emotions arise. At the end of the day, we are as good as our ability to manage what we feel. How well we navigate upset largely determines the level of trust and closeness we create with other people. How well we attune and comfort others is a reflection of our ability to manage our own emotions. Do we stay relationally connected? Do we isolate? Do we attack? Our reactions tell a story. Skill 12 is what equips us to express our faith and values under increasingly difficult and everchanging circumstances.” (Page 163)

I am excited for the new interactive Bible Study coauthored with Amy Brown that is on the horizon and soon to be released. This resource will be useful to help groups learn and apply important skills while having a bit of fun. If you haven’t yet read Transforming Fellowship, check it out here.

I Can’t Believe My Child Did This!

Have you ever cringed watching your child misbehave? Maybe you felt a dose of shame when, after your best parenting efforts, your child still says or does THAT? Let’s face it. If you get right down to it, you are deeply concerned how your child is going to turn out. More than anyone, you are invested in your child’s development and well-being. Will your child grow into an adult that you and others will like? These are weighty thoughts.

I confess I have moments where I ask myself these hard questions. In fact, if I am brutally honest, shame and fear creeps in and creates intensity in my parenting and discipline style that I don’t like. It’s not as though I consciously think to myself, “I need to figure out how to control these kids so they turn out right!” However, in the moments I am short and sharp with my children, I notice a common theme: I feel overwhelmed and out of control. Do you ever feel this way?

I was telling Chris about this recently and he asked me an insightful question. He said, “When you feel so overwhelmed by the kids, do you think this is an issue of emotional capacity or are you feeling triggered by something from the past?” To clarify, emotional capacity is when something is greater than my ability to adequately manage it, and I need to grow in my maturity skills. Triggered is a term to say unresolved pain that includes thoughts and feelings from my past that creep into the present and add intensity to an already difficult situation, which sends me over the edge.

As I thought and prayed about this question, it was clear that I had unresolved triggers impacting the interactions with my sons. The intensity of my feelings over their misbehavior was more than the situation called for. While it is discouraging to know how these painful triggers negatively impact interactions with my children, at the same time, it is hopeful to realize these unprocessed pain landmines can be disarmed! These responses do not make me a bad mother nor do they define me. These are places in my character that need some of God’s peace and healing. I do well to identify these places and repair with my children when I overreact.

After learning this, I spent some time with a friend practicing interactive Immanuel Prayer. I talked with Jesus about the situation and my big feelings. It became clear that part of what was creating intensity for me was the pervasive weight of responsibility I felt to raise my sons to be kind, generous, secure, capable adults who love Jesus. I was carrying around a heavy weight!

As I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know about raising the boys He has given me, I felt like He lifted the weight of responsibility from my shoulders. It was like Jesus was saying that, ultimately, He is responsible for how my sons turn out. My job is to follow His lead, and do what He asks me to do as I parent them. I realized my fear comes from a desire to protect my boys from pain and suffering. I felt like Jesus showed me there is no way to fully protect my children from pain. Rather, my sons will experience hard things in their lives and Jesus will use these hard and painful times to mold their character into the men He is calling them to be.

Whew! That was just what my heart needed. After these interactions with Jesus, I felt a renewed sense of peace and purpose wash over me. My boys are safely in Jesus’ hands! Yes, they will experience pain. Yes, they will endure hardship, but it will not be without purpose. Even in those moments, Jesus is drawing them closer to Himself.

Since my prayer time last week, I have seen a difference in my parenting style. I feel noticeably calmer in situations that previously would set me off. I am more patient and better able to extend grace to my boys when they act out and misbehave. When Jesus met me in my fears, something changed. I am deeply grateful for Jesus helping me remain a more peaceful parent. I feel thankful to my husband for asking the insightful question that led me down this road.

What fears drive you? Keep in mind that our fears tell a story about what we value. What do your fears say about you? I pray you find a fresh dose of peace as you turn to the Prince of Peace for clarity and relief.