Monday, March 9, 2009

Growing Up ...

So, I've been studying and preparing some lessons for a class that I'm about to teach at my church on parenting. Let me say that those who are given the opportunity and privilege to teach a class aren't asked because they are so great or have it all together or know all the answers. In my case, the timing was right and I guess because I have two great kids, folks assumed I did something right. I take ZERO credit. In fact, I failed as a parent in so many ways while raising my children ... there's just not enough room here and I won't bore you with all the bloody details. What I can say is that, praise God, I've learned SO much while looking back on my parenting adventure that God has placed me in a position in which I can share with others.

But before I get totally side tracked and away from what's on my heart this morning, I need to stay focused and let my fingers do the talking.

I ran across this list of seven "marks" that our children are growing up and maturing intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. As I read the list, I thought, "The heck with parenting, this is a powerful list for EVERYONE ... with or without children." I am a firm believer in asking the hard questions, so this list hit me between the eyes long before I share them here.

So ... let's me and you take a little self "am I a big boy/girl" evaluation:

Answer the following questions, not as you WISH you were, but as you are. Remember, "as a man thinks in his heart, so he is."

Here we go:

Are you able to keep long-term commitments?

Are you unshaken by flattery or criticism?

Do you possess a spirit of humility?

Do you base decisions on character, not feelings?

Do you consistently express gratitude?

Do you prioritize others before yourself?

Do you seek wisdom before acting?

No doubt, I could have used this list while raising and training my daughters. Sometimes as parents, we do the best we can with what we have and end up missing the mark in crucial ways. As I read over this list of seven powerful challenges, the Lord said to ME that I need to do my own check list! I hate when He does that -- it's always easier to challenge others than to have to take a look within.

As parents, we can never expect our kids to be something that we are not.

As people, God calls us to a higher ... better way of living.

Sometimes the better way always starts with a look within because who we are always has a way of oozing out. I want to be better, don't you? Whether raising kids or God raising us up ... it's time to grow up!

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