Sunday night my oldest girls and I were blessed to be able to listen to Tom Brokaw opine on the last 40 years of American history and then share his opinion on our future.
It was interesting.
I agreed with some of what he said and questioned the validity of other points but perhaps one of the most important tips I learned came when he spoke about past failed political campaigns.
“Never let your opponent define you.”
He was talking about Mitt Romney and how the left characterized him early on as a wealthy man completely out of touch with the needs of the everyday American, but I thought this was incredibly apropos as a parent.
Never let your opponent define you.
Never let Satan define you in your own mind. Don’t let him continuously condemn you and scare you into thinking you aren’t worthy or capable. Remember constantly that you are a precious gift in the eyes of Jesus…so much so that He gave His own life for you.
Never let your less than encouraging family members define you.
It doesn’t matter what you used to be like before Christ came into your life, never let the family members who refuse to see the change in your heart and in your life define you. Maybe you were once an alcoholic….but not any more. Even if that change just happened last week…You are a new creation in Christ! Don’t let those family members who have discouraged you or berated you continue to define you by your old habits.
Never let your past decisions define you.
Many times, our past self is our own worst enemy. Our previous reputation, our previous errors, our previous decisions can all come back to bite us…but they can not and should not define us. His mercies are new everyday. And with every sunrise you are another day farther down the road from those previous decisions and another day closer to Jesus. Don’t let your past continue to rob you of a future. That’s another tactic of the enemy.
Never let your fears define you.
Fear is a main tactic of our opponent, our enemy, Satan. Some people live in fear and some are completely defined by it. They are the Piglets (as in Weenie the Pooh) of the world, scared and timid to say or do much of anything. That should not be for the believer in Christ. You have the very Spirit of God inside you. You have all the insane courage anyone could ever hope to muster right there!
And most importantly…as your kids age…
Never let a wayward teen or troubling preteen define you.
They may characterize you to your face or behind your back, but keep your head up and your knees bent. Keep your head up because as heartbreaking as this situation may be, it does not define you and your teen or preteen won’t always feel that way. Keep your knees bent in prayer. Ask God to continue to give you the courage to lead your family and give you instruction and the right words to love on that child. Your child should never be your opponent, but let’s face it, many times as parents that’s the position they chose. Don’t let your child’s hurtful words dissuade you from your job. Keep marchin’. Keep being Mama or Daddy.
And especially, parents:
Let’s not define one another so narrowly either. I’ve seen parents with a whirly dervish and half crazed toddler through pre-teen have an incredible turn out as a teenager and a young man. I’ve seen parents who “did everything right” as their children grew up have a teenager go through some rough times. Let’s not become one another’s opponent and define one another by those challenges. Let’s come alongside and encourage one another. This job is tough enough without judgement and condemnation from one another.