A young mom sent me an email recently and asked if she could pick my brain on how to recognize the difference between “fear motivation” verses “faith motivation” in raising her kids.
It’s a great question because I think operating from fear is a common trap for us moms who are trying to parent biblically:
We don’t want to mess up our kids.
We DO want them to develop a passion for Christ.
We don’t want them to be exposed to junk that might have a corrupting influence.
We DO want them to see that living for Christ isn’t just following a bunch of rules.
We don’t want them to be seduced by the world’s philosophies.
We DO want them to love Christ more than anything.
We don’t want to compromise biblical truth.
We DO want them to learn to discern truth from error!
And for those who are regular readers of this blog, I imagine you want more than anything to glorify God in your parenting.
You want your parenting decisions to be faith-based, not determined by the worrisome “what ifs.”
So here are a few questions to ponder when you’re in the throes of another choice, another tough decision, and you’re just not sure which way to go.
♥ What would it look like to trust God on this one?
♥ Am I guilty of making choices out of fear rather than seeking the Word to get clear direction?
♥ Is “fearing the outcome” my natural default when processing a decision?
♥ Are clear biblical principles being violated in this activity and if so, how am I training my child to recognize these?
♥ How is this decision aimed to highlight the heart issue?
♥ Do my parenting decisions tend to produce outward conformity but no real heart change?
♥ Am I placing pressure to perform on my child that God hasn’t placed on me?
♥ Am I crossing the line of mothering and moving into the territory of being my child’s Holy Spirit?
♥ Am I operating from the faulty perception that my child’s spiritual condition depends on my parenting efforts? Do I believe that God can and will deal with their heart individually and personally?
♥ What is the worst that can happen here? (Remind yourself that even if you “mess up,” make the wrong decision, etc. that is not beyond God’s sovereign process of taking that mess up and redeeming it. He can use even the mess ups to train/refine/prepare our children and us!)
♥ Is this a “hill to die on” or is this something I can allow my child to experience as a teachable opportunity? If the activity is potentially harmful—what can I replace it with that will be equally fun and/or beneficial?
♥ Do my children think “No” is my default position? How often do they hear me say, “Sure—let’s try that—good idea!”
♥ Do they enjoy spending time with me or is it stress-filled?
♥ How am I encouraging them to make their own decisions? (Starting with small choices/age-appropriate decisions.)
♥ How can I help them make righteous choices on their own rather than me imposing my standards in this instance?
♥ Am I conveying my decision in a way that assures my children of my love for them? Of God’s love for them?
It’s a difficult challenge to discern what we should allow our children to be exposed to. We need to ask ourselves:
How am I preparing my child today to deal with the world he or she will live in as adults tomorrow?
Saturating them with Scripture—for sure that is absolutely what we need to be doing—but we also need to train our children to use their Scripture knowledge to evaluate what the culture promotes and determine a wise course of action for themselves.
There will come a day when your little ones will be in a position to see or do the very things you are now sheltering them from. How are you preparing them to think critically and with discernment?
How are you guarding their hearts from resentment when others “can” but they cannot? Are you allowing them to see the value and JOY that comes from making righteous choices or do they only see your home as one where nothing is allowed? Do they equate your home as the “no fun place?”
Finally, open up the door for the Holy Spirit to work by inviting your child to pray with you and for you in your parenting decisions. Faith-based parenting only comes as a result of walking in the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). If you are living by faith in your daily choices—it will be obvious to them and will cultivate an atmosphere of faith in your home.
Walk in faith, train your children to love as well as fear the Lord, and may your entire household look to Him alone as your safe place.
[box]“He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26)[/box]
What about you? After reading this post, do you see yourself as parenting from fear or faith?