If you have time, you can listen to my ten-minute segment here.
If you don’t have time to listen…I spoke about the time I completely lost it at the grocery store, and started yelling at my oldest son, “NAUGHTY BOYS DO NOT GET TO PLAY WITH DOLPHINS!”
In public. Yes, I am that mom.
After I spoke that day, I had a precious little elderly lady come up to me and ask, â€œWerenâ€™t you one of the speakers today?â€
I gave her an emphatic yes!â€”fully expecting accolades for a job well done. Instead, she asked if I knew the young mom who spoke about having a problem with her kid at the grocery store.
Before I could interrupt and explain that was in fact me, she went on, â€œThat poor woman really needs some help in the parenting department. I have a few book titles I’d like to recommend to her. Could you please pass this on to her?â€
With that she handed me a list of..count them…TEN parenting books.
I told her I’d be sure to give the list to that woman.
If you missed them, here are parts 1 ,2, and 3â€¦
Psalm 131: Oh, Lord my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
It’s a picture reminiscent of the Tower of Babel in Genesis eight, when the people wanted to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves. David is saying the oppositeâ€”I do not concern or occupy myself with things too marvelous for me. Another way of saying this is I am not concerned with gaining power and status. David knows that path leads only to discontentment and bitterness.
I have to confess this is an embarrassing struggle for meâ€”to train my thought-life so that I am not thinking about things too wonderful or too loftyâ€”so that I am not building tall towers in honor of my own name.
In my daily life this plays out with my kiddos. I love my children. I even like them. But I have desires beyond their care. Admittedly, I have some not-so-meaningful desires, like to catch up on Project Runway or spend some more time on Pinterest. But I also have lofty and wonderful things to accomplish. I want to write a book. I want to be in full-time ministry. I want to further my education. Those are good stinkin’ things.
I know this isn’t true for everyone, but for me, there are moments when the lure of those desires can cause me to resent my children or wish for another type of life. That’s when I know that I am concerned with things “too lofty and too wonderful” for me. That’s my red flag. I need to get back to trusting God and like David, practice contentment in this season.
Sally Clarkson, a woman who writes extensively on mothering, says this about her own experience as a mom:
â€œTwo conflicted drives of my heart stood out in stark contrast – my commitment to motherhood verses my lurking desire to have life my own way….
I needed to accept my childrenâ€™s neediness, the myriad of mindless tasks, and even my own occasional discomfort- I needed to face the reality that all of the â€˜important stuffâ€™ I was longing to do had far less eternal significance than what I was involved in doing.
If I didnâ€™t commit myself wholeheartedly to the demands of motherhood,
I would never be able to do my best, because my heart would always be somewhere else.â€
The second step in the Spiritual Discipline of Child-like Contentment is to:
2) Ask God to guard your thoughts, so that you are not building towers in your own name.
I don’t what those thoughts are for youâ€”ask God to search your heart and reveal themâ€”I will say that if what you’re dwelling on or dreaming about is making you bitter towards your loved ones, or affecting your intimacy with God, those are the thoughts you need vigilantly ask Him to protect against.
And maybe, just maybe, if you are getting a little too lofty and full of yourself, God will use a little old lady to snap you right back into your place.
Thank God he is our Help and we don’t have battle our discontentment alone…
Last time, we asked God to remove our pride and replace it with gratefulness. This week, as we take off the “stanky socks” of lofty thoughts, let’s replace them with scripture, so that we are lead to Jesus.
Psalm 40:2-3: He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouthâ€”a hymn of praise to our God. Many will seeâ€¦and trust in the Lord.
Romans 12:10: Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.
James 2:10 and 13: Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters this cannot beâ€¦wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruitâ€¦.
Oh God. My mouth is an ugly place. Itâ€™s worse than a toddler in the midst of terrible twoâ€™s.
In one breath Iâ€™ll be praising you, in the next I am complaining about everything. Itâ€™s not just the words I am concerned about, itâ€™s my attitude. God, help me to have a heart and a mouth that is full of purity and peace. Help me to be considerate to others, submissive to their needs,
and full of good fruit. I canâ€™t do this without you.
I want to enjoy the gifts youâ€™ve given me. So, help me for your glory and for my own soul.
Next up: Glory of the Little Things and The Art of Celebrating Nothing