Parenting Essential #4 – The Danger of Self – Reliance

Essential #4 – The DANGER of Self-reliance: 

Living independently as a parent could be dangerous, may even result in the spiritual death of your kids. A paraphrase from our Podcast interview with Professor Dean Diehl, Podcast season 2.

Being perceived as “strong” and above it all is a huge temptation for parents in the church to try to project everything’s OK. The reality is, we’re not. We can’t handle everything by ourselves, we are going to need help and encouragement. As parents we all need support, especially from other believers.

Parenting is more than a project to complete, it’s a sacred assignment to be guarded and  well protected. Part of stewarding our parenting role is to surround ourselves with wise counsel and experience from those who have gone before us.

Source – Pexels.com

The culture is always pushing into our parenting practices, we have to protect ourselves from its influences and recognize how it redirects us from living as authentic examples of faith. Society will urge us to deny our weakness and project how mature and strong we are as parents, we can be duped into expending tremendous energy to present our families as a ‘success’.

As Christian parents, what are the goals we want set for our kids… Why?

The influence of our culture pushes us to quantify our successes with material and or secular measurements rather than spiritual dimensions. “What is our goal as a parent? To deliver a ‘good’ kid at 18 years of age, without having premarital sex, having tried alcohol or drugs? Or is it to love them unconditionally and help them discover their identity as God created them to be?”

This podcast interview digs deep and asks some hard questions for parents to consider, questions we all need to answer carefully and honestly.

If you’re struggling with the enormity of parenthood, you are not alone. We can walk through this together or forge ahead alone. To see our kids hearts won for Christ, we will have to adjust our approach and align ourselves with the way God works and reject the way our world insists we go.

Interview Information:

Brilliantly Brave Parenting Podcast Link: https://soundcloud.com/brilliantlybrave/ep30-dean-diehl

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/j1qf4IoZrws

Website Link: https://brilliantlybraveparenting.com/dean-diehl/

Some key thoughts / quotes from our interview:

“Self – reliance as a parent will get your kids killed (Spiritually)”

“Jesus never called us to be ‘good’ – But Holy. Good is what we do, Holy is what He does.”

“Christian Karma is when we start ‘comparing’ our good/bad behavior with others, and rely on our being ‘better’ than other people.”

“Selling salvation is one of the great failures of the evangelical church over the past century. We’ve tried to ‘sell’ the gospel – and we’re not called to sell the gospel – it’s not a sales proposition – it’s an offer of life.”

“Values based parenting vs. Rules based – the difference is all about what we parent from, fear or love.”

“What is our goal as a parent? To deliver a ‘good’ kid at 18 years of age, without having premarital sex, having tried alcohol or drugs? Or is it to love them unconditionally and help them discover their identity as God created them to be?”

“Fear of missing out – is one of the key marketing approaches in our modern society – it shouldn’t be a Christian parenting or church principle.”

About Dean Diehl: Assistant Professor at Trevecca Nazarene University and Senior VP at Provident Music Group. Trevecca is a private Christian liberal arts college in Nashville, TN. Founded in 1901, Trevecca’s mission is “a Christian community providing education for leadership and service.”

Dean Diehl is the director of their music business program. Diehl joined Trevecca in 2008 after pursuing a 20-year career in the music industry where he worked as the senior vice president of Provident Music Group, helping to shape the careers of well-known artists such as Casting Crowns, Third Day and Michael W. Smith. He and his wife live in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., where he grew up, and have four daughters and three grandchildren.

 

 

Parenting through an eating disorder

*Statistics say that 3 out of 4 women struggle with an unhealthy relationship with food.

Ever ask yourself if that might be you? Or your daughter… wife, best friend?

Might be time to consider expanding your circle of trust and risk sharing that struggle. What about taking the step to engage with someone or something that has helped thousands get free? It takes courage and humility to admit our need for help, and it takes the support of someone who walked before us.

Let me introduce a friend and expert on the subject, Constance Rhodes – she’s the founder and CEO of “Finding Balance” and she can help.  Her help saved my daughter’s life six years ago and it might do the same  for you or someone you know. Someone who’s fighting in despair and feels all alone and about to give up.

Eating disorders and poor self-esteem related to body image are arguably the most common and painful struggle any parent with teens will ever face. 

I’ve done it. It’s rough. Seriously dark stuff to wrestle with by yourself.  No one wants to over-react, to provoke things further, but if you’re noticing a pattern… a trend, then its very likely real.

You may wonder if this important enough to risk the anger and resentment? It is.

First step... admit there might be a problem. 

Second… ask for help. 

Third… listen to the Brilliantly Brave Parenting podcast and reach out to Finding Balance and get some honest and tested advice. 

With all my heart…

Pastor Brad.

*FindingBalance interview – BBP Podcast.

Every Proud Mom Cries

Ever sit near a mom during a wedding? What about a graduation ceremony…or even just a good Hollywood movie about a wedding or graduation? 🙂

Tears fall. 

Sometimes it’s just a few silent, solitary drops of pure pride and tender joy. Other times it’s the wet flood of an emotional storm, released without restraint. Either way, Mom cries.  View More: http://traciarneyphotography.pass.us/kelliejarrett

It’s as natural as the spring time, healthy, and in some way… ‘proper. 

I watched the birth of all three of my children. I clapped and whooped as each of them clutched their diploma’s and proudly smiled for the camera….walking by in their black graduation robes. It’s a heart warming, milestone moment… a truly joyful time. Pride pulses through every parents heart, excitement and satisfaction mixed with a bit of growing dread…

Thus the tears.

For mothers the transition of a graduation ceremony or a wedding day symbolizes the end of an era. The shifting of seasons, it represents a diminishment of their influence and ultimately… ‘control‘. That’s intense, anxiety inducing, panic-attack provoking kind of fear for a mother… a huge hill to climb. (Dad’s too, but not in the same way)

For the parent, a graduation or wedding is like a ‘final exam’. 

Did we teach them all they needed to know?

How will they handle the pressure of independent life?

Will they abandon the faith we tried to model…?

Do they know how much we love them?

Will they choose to stay close to us… or have they gone for good?

Just asking yourself these questions can cause your heart to skip beats. There’s far more going on under the surface here…more than tears expressed in a moment of celebration, this is the tip of a proverbial iceberg. A glacier full of fear buried deep in the heart of every mother in every home. For some mom’s this is a devastating time. A deep and dark season where fears can overshadow all else… if that’s you, keep reading.

Couple of thoughts. 

1 – God is Faithful. Pray.

Never forget the covenant love of our God, He is long-suffering, patient and His love endures forever!

2- Take the LONG view.

Give them a chance to grow up and discover the truth’s you taught them were real.

3- Don’t burn the bridge back home.

Express your concerns without ultimatums. It’s their turn to choose how to live. If your right about their foolishness… they are going to need help later to sort things out. If the bridge back home is out… where will they have left to go for advice? Probably somewhere or to someone ‘not’ good.

Inmate Steven Clark gets a hug from his girl friend Tomi Doyle after Clark received his associate degree from the University of Maine in Augusta on Monday at the Maine State Prison.

God bless all you “mothers’ out there. Let the tears flow... but rest well tonight knowing your in good company. Be at peace knowing God hasn’t, isn’t, can’t… abandoned you or your newly independent ‘babies’ 🙂

The adventure is just really beginning…

Pastor Brad.

 

 

drip drip drip… the power of persistence

Parents, are you tempted to throw in the towel with your tween?

I know… it’s overwhelmingly difficult sometimes to parent a hormone-soaked-storm like the typical teen or tween. They know how to push each exasperation button we have… and somehow avoid being responsible for “ANYTHING” from their school grades to the family shared, mobile, data-plan last month 🙂

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They disdain our “ancient” wisdom of 40 something as outright stupidity and live comfortable in the smug knowledge they are in fact… the geniuses. Cerebral giants who can barely tolerate our presence in their ‘homes’.  We call these crazies our kids and if you’re not careful… they can wear you down to the nub…

Or even worse, they might make you so exhausted… you give up! 

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THEM !

DO NOT STOP PARENTING

DO NOT STOP CAREFULLY KEEPING THE BOUNDARIES OF LIFE, LOVE, AND YOUR FAMILY INTACT !

Don’t stop praying, don’t stop sharing, don’t stop daring to believe in their hearts catching fire for Christ ! We underestimate our value, our power as parents ! Our kids get over 70 hours week of mainstream media ingested into their noggin and less than 3 hours of parent & pastor combined…

Poll after poll tells us that tweens (kids 7-13) and teens admit the opinions and ideas of their parents are THE SINGLE MOST INFLUENTIAL VOICE IN THEIR LIVES ! 

Be persistent !Untitled-111-980x613

It’s not up to us to convince… only God can change a heart or an attitude. But we as parents can be intentional about never – ever giving up on our kids. Of living out our faith values with honesty and persistence, day-in and day-out… like water on rock, over time… the water wins !

Pastor B.

Imagining the worst…

Ever watch a friendship or marriage dis-integrate right before your eyes ? Maybe you’re in the middle of a relational crisis, or maybe it’s your tween or teen whose pulling so far away ?

It’s brutal to see up close.

Disrespect and broken trust erode what once was inseparable. Like emotional acid, the burn never seems to stop. Perceptions shift as mountains of past hurts, regret, and shame, dissolve through what remained of our commitment.

Intimacy turns inside out and ugly in a moment. Lost and emotionally afraid, we can start to hate the silence.

Conversations change. Sour stirrings of bitterness creep into our words as our wounded hearts seek to hide the truth and carry on without ever resolving the pain.

In time…our emotional reserves run out. Cold, flat, facts replace the warmth once felt, as we drift and float further apart. Apathy is all it takes to lose our relationship. Love and respect replaced by our deep and wary suspicion of ill intent.

HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN ?

Subtly we can lose our grip on reality, as the voices of  twisted truths win the war of trust in our heart. We start to entertain the darkest possible scenarios in our mind, in short…we imagine the worst, believing internal ‘whispers of warning‘ about events that have never even occurred yet.

Over time we can become so ‘convinced’ that we’re in the right to doubt others, we forget to even ask ourselves if they actually did anything to hurt us. Sometimes we can imagine offense by projecting past offenses or hurts into our present. Internal ‘perceptions become reality and our cynical imagination builds an elaborate dungeon of distrust. Once we surrender to those thoughts and fears, we can lose sight of what once was compassion and optimistic hope for one another.

Over time we can even start to predict that all kinds of people will eventually hurt or betray us, and in a paranoid attempt to protect ourselves, we withdraw from relationships before any of that happens. anxiety

The community of faith that Christ calls us to live in can’t survive long with our imaginations working on overdrive. We have to push back our fears and anxiety as we learn to ‘trust’ the hearts of others are actually ‘good. 

The bible describes these internal fear thoughts and ‘imaginations’ as legitimate spiritual ‘warfare’ ! A real life reality for the believer to accept and anticipate if we are going to make our relationships work.

We need to consciously prepare to defend our friendships,marriages and sanity, by choosing to remember God’s truth in those moments when we ‘feel’ the darkness of doubt, fear, and suspicion begin creeping into our thoughts.

If we don’t regularly choose to believe the best in our relationships, we can easily be deceived into thinking our friends, family, and spouses are the ‘enemy’.

(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

The Apostle Paul 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (AKJV)

Parents, believe for the best.

Spouses, trust that nothing is ever impossible with Christ.

Peace out, Pastor B 🙂

NOAH… the movie

NOAH… “the” Noah. Legend, myth… or actual historic figure, whatever you choose to believe, his tale is an epic story, pulled from the ancient archives of the book of Genesis., the first book of the bible. The most recent incarnation of Noah comes to life in Russell Crowe, part of a big budget, super intense – CGI fantasy show, complete with apocalyptic immersion into the ‘pre-history’ of mankind.

Noah’s world is an ash-tray of a garbage dump, blackened and fouled by the industrial hordes of pre-historical technology and a violent, lawless society. Noah serves to protect the last of the pristine earth and it’s animals from the relentless surge of a blood-thirsty civilization.

The cinematography is DARK and DIRE, sweeping and full of some strange stuff, and ideas. (i.e. Watchers)

Filmed largely in Iceland, this epic story becomes a very focused dramatic tale about the dysfunctional family dynamics that twist Noah’s life.

For parents, this movie is dark, scary and at times bloody. A violent, but not so far-fetched interpretation of the biblical text. A bit too violent and scary for youngsters in my opinion. Kids under 13-14 should steer clear, but for those with teens, this provide parents with an excellent opportunity to go deeper.

My encouragement is this… take your teens to see this with you. Prepare them by reading through the Genesis narrative as contained in the scriptures. (Gen 5-9) Once you have your popcorn and milk duds, kick back and enjoy the fictional and gritty drama of Noah’s family as they cope with the pressures of global genocide and personal faith. The acting is solid and you’ll find yourself caught up in the tension that builds between Noah and his daughter/wife/sons along the way.

I did appreciate the powerful reality check the movie provides to us as believers. Namely that there is such a day as “judgment day” and that sin isn’t a minor detail on the way to the warm glow of an Easter story. I also appreciated the struggle Noah has with understanding what God is calling him to do, making his faith all to familiar, something for us all to appreciate.

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Note the odd emphasis on Noah’s intense – even rabid faith portrayal, the value placed on animals over mankind and the use of magic by Noah’s grandfather along the way. Entertaining and intense, this story is a bit of a ssstttrrreeeettttcccchhhhh , but it serves a very useful purpose. You will have your teens interested enough in the bible to read and talk about it for days to come.

For the record, it’s big budget and exciting, although a “downer”, it is full of great music and hi-tech imaging, effectively recreating what would seem to be the basic “vibe” of the old world decay that the bible describes.

I happen to believe the bible is accurate, truthful and trustworthy, making this story more than just a fable, but a piece of our historical journey with God. As such, it’s message is timeless and powerful… making it a significant movie pick for today’s family to consider.

That’s enough for me to recommend taking your own voyage to the nearest theatre!

Peace out and past the popcorn already… 🙂

Pastor B.

Moving forward

Ever watch a teen get really excited about some brand-new life opportunity? Their eyes glow with anticipation and they are immediately lifted from the depths of their hormonal fueled struggles-insecurities and fears. They seem to live and breath with only pure and positive energy, bouncing as they walk. Goofy smiles on their faces as they dream with endless enthusiasm for their certain and sure futures. They over-simplify and under-consider the risks and challenges required…but they sure do believe!

How many of us as parents or teachers or just “old” folks brush past that naiveté’ and idealistic hope we see in our youth? Smashing and grabbing our way – forcing their glowing gazes back into the “practical” world we know. Often we act dispassionately dissecting their dreams with a cold and certain cynical scalpel – forged from our own failed histories and painful memories.

It is true…as adults we know that life can drag us backward, that dreams and ideals can fade in the harsh glare of practical experience….but it’s not the ONLY truth we know. Dreams are the fuel of our souls… the seeds of what “could be” become the harvest of our adulthood. When we give up on our dreams, we in essence let a piece of ourselves die. Our kids are ALIVE and full of the juice of possibility… we have a choice to nurture that or invalidate them into something less.

Parents, as our tweens become teens and our teens become adults… we have a significant voice in their futures. If we speak only from the pragmatic prism of cold-hard-facts, we can greatly diminish our kids and ourselves. We need to be very wise here… if we’re not careful in our haste to correct and educate them, we can end up sucking the optimism of life out of their hearts.

en.wikipedia.org

en.wikipedia.org

Let’s not let our disappointments, mistakes and tragic choices sabotage the hopes and dreams of our children. Yes they may be naïve and idealistic to the point of absurdity… but it’s those crazy hopes and dreams that fuel our lives. Someone will be the next Zuckerberg, Oprah, Edison or Steve Jobs… someone will follow their hearts fully, daring to believe and create from their dreams, safely carried from their adolescence into adulthood.

Shame on us if we smash those precious seeds of tomorrow before they ever get a chance to grow.

Faith is more than pragmatic trust … Faith allows us to see hope and potential in the midst of improbability… and our kids need us to have Faith in them and Gods’ ability to make the impossible… real. Our kids were created for a purpose… they have the blue-prints for something remarkable, something life-giving – beautiful and so necessary for us all.

 

Blessings, Pastor B.

PS – Latest RoadTrip radio interview with Diane Markins and her Bold Living Talk Show airs Saturday (9-28-13)

Bold Living is a weekly talk show meant to approach life with grace and grit in order to challenge, encourage, equip and propel listeners towards bolder choices! Listeners may tune in to KPXQ 1360 AM Saturdays at 11:05 AM (MST) or visit DianeMarkins.com to hear podcasts any time.