Friday, January 8, 2016

Don't talk about my child that way...

Last night...
I drop my oldest daughter off at work and head back towards home.
I'm about halfway there when she calls me, upset.

Me: Hello?
Her: I am the worst.
Me: What?
Her: I wore the wrong shoes and they won't let me work without the right ones.

She then launches into a defensive, yet self deprecating monologue about how they've let her before and it isn't fair and how she is dumb and terrible and etc etc.

Me: Just stop.
Her: I need my shoes.
Me: Okay. 
(Momentary silence)

She starts back up again... never once actually asking me to get her shoes for her.

Me: Stop. Repeat after me. Mom, I need my work shoes. Could you go in the house and get them from ______________ and bring them to me at work, please?
Her: I don't know where they are. I looked for them earlier but... 
Me: (Interrupting) Then try this: Mom, I need my work shoes. Could you go in the house find my shoes and bring them to me at work, please?

She complies. Finally.

It takes awhile to find her shoes, but once I do, I send her a text and jump into the car to make the 7 minute trip back to her work. She's waiting outside when I pull up and opens the door, reaching in to grab the shoes.

Her: (With a pained expression on her face) I'm terrible... I...
Me: Stop! Just say thank you.
Her: Thank you! I love you!
Me: I love you too. Bye!

As emotional teenager moments go, this was relatively mild. But driving away I thought how frustrating it was that she was so busy apologizing for her mistake and tearing herself down that she didn't ask for help or say thank you until she was reminded. 

I am human, and I get frustrated sometimes. I also will not pull her out of every situation she gets herself into. But she didn't even ask for help until I told her to because she was so focused on her mistake instead of the fact that I am her mom and I love her.

And all the tearing herself down, saying things about herself that aren't true... doesn't she know who she is to me? She's my child. Regardless of the mistakes she makes, I think she's pretty fantastic. Nobody should feel free to talk about my child that way... not even my child.

I remember when I used to go to God that way for help. 

I'd start off by telling Him how awful and stupid I was. I'd tell Him I was sorry for my mistake or bad choice, but then I'd complain about the consequences and throw in a little about how it wasn't all my fault, just in case it might make Him a little less angry. I was so focused on myself, I couldn't see that He wasn't angry at all.

I think about how it felt to hear my beautiful, smart, talented, highly favored and dearly loved daughter tear herself to bits with her words over a pair of forgotten shoes, and realize how it must have sounded to God when His beautiful, smart, talented, highly favored and dearly loved daughter tore herself to pieces with her words over her own human mistakes in the same way. 

Understanding who we are to anyone, what they think of us, what their expectations of us are, changes the way we interact with them on all levels. It decides whether we approach someone with confidence or trepidation. It determines how we interpret and react to their actions as well. It is so important to communicate to others who they are to us.

God knows that. That's why He provided us with written proof of who we are to Him. It's all in the Bible. 

Below is one of many verses that tells us what God thinks of us...

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
~Zephaniah 3:17

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
~Proverbs 23:7

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