My kids are not always well behaved. I’m telling you this in case you had some idea that being a mom of faith guarantees anything. I try hard to be thoughtful and patient, yet there are days it feels as if God’s weight reduction plan for middle age involves having a pound of flesh verbally ripped from my body by an irrational teenager each day.
Then I remember that when my kids push my buttons, they are my buttons. My anger is mine, my frustration is mine, and my hurt feelings are mine to manage and process. My wounded ego is mine to nurse back to health. Frankly, remembering this makes me think I would rather not have to be an adult all day long.
It’s kind of like the realization that there are times I’d rather not have to act like a Christian. Those are the times I’d rather be outraged than forgiving, snarky than kind, defensive than open-hearted. Those are the occasions I’d rather label others than think of them as children of God, or when I’d just as soon act like a spiteful pre-teen than be gracious like a faith-filled adult.
And yet my outrage, snarkiness, defensiveness, labeling and spite are purely mine, and therefore are my responsibility. There is no way I can pawn off putting others down as Christian, and no way I can snipe (even privately) about people I dislike without hurting God.
Being a grown-up is hard, whether we’re talking about parenting or faith. Nonetheless, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
If I want others to grow in faith, the core truth is that I have to be a grown-up in mine.