Time to be Brave


One of my favorite pictures from our vacation!

“You are always on your computer!” he said in the early morning light.

His words irritated me, because they lacked truth. We had just returned from a week and a half vacation the night before. My computer had not been a companion on our trip.

But his next words ripped me apart.

“You never do anything with us!”

These words lacked truth as well. Our vacation was specifically planned with our kid’s interests in mind. There had been swimming and fishing, boating and hiking, having fun with old friends and making new ones. Our last day was spent at an amusement park that we love. He hadn’t stopped smiling the entire day.

And now we were home and I had planned out the whole summer, filling it with things that I knew he would enjoy.

So, why did his words hurt me? They hurt because being a mom is my highest priority(second only to my relationship with Jesus and their Daddy!). I work hard at it and I strive to be the best mom I can be.

His words hit a nerve, because even if he was technically wrong, the fact that he would even think these thoughts, broke my heart. And if I am being completely honest, they injured my pride. I prefer the perception that I am a fun mom, the kind who makes memories with my kids. The truth is, I want them to look back on their childhood with fondness.

And so, while his words lacked truth, they stopped me in my tracks. And they have stopped me in my tracks all summer long.

This is the strong effect that words have on me. My children are not the only ones who seem to have this power over me. Whenever I have given any kind of priority to anyone in my life, I have inevitably opened myself up to hurt. When I am hurt, I have a tendency to back away even when I am fully convinced that the other person is wrong.

I shut down. I stop doing the thing they questioned or at the very least put it on the back burner.

This summer, I discovered a shocking truth about myself. I am a slave to perceptions.

You may have noticed that my posts have been few and far between in the past few months. I have told you that I am busy with all the summer stuff and this was true. But even more true is that I have balked at this hurtful perception from my son. And I have been determined to change his mind. As a result, my time on the computer has been few and far between.

As summer comes to an end for our family, it is a natural time to reflect. Thinking about this particular scenario that seems like it might have happened in another lifetime, I am left unsettled. Did I really allow my 9 year old’s perception keep me from being faithful to this calling I have on my life? This calling to write, to share what God is teaching me, to encourage others through the Word of God? Really?

I have talked often about being brave as it is my one word for 2014. But I have learned something new this summer. Being brave for me is not simply walking in the path that God has laid out for me (although that continues to be my prayer and also my joy!). Being brave is not simply overcoming fears (although playing softball this summer and pushing myself to RUN has been a beautiful testimony to God’s grace in my life). Being brave is not just about trying new things (even though I am so thankful for every new first!).

Being brave means letting go of trying to manage other’s perceptions of me and truly trusting God with those things.

I can’t make my son see my heart for him, because he is a sinner too. He has selfishness in him and it is not my job appeal to that selfishness in order to convince him that I really am a great mom! (do you see how this could drive me crazy?!!). Instead, I need to challenge his faulty perceptions and I need to lead him to the throne of grace.

I can’t change other’s low opinions of me by being better or fighting against their perceptions. If my perceptions are tinged by sin, if I need to be changed by my great God, isn’t it likely that others are affected in the same way? That perhaps their treatment of me is born from the same place? Can I trust God to work in their lives, just as I pray that He would work in mine? Instead of internally fighting, I need to accept that others will not always see me in the way I would want them to see me. And I need to lay these things at the throne of grace.

It is time to walk in bravery, to throw off perceptions and not be ruled by them. It is time to be brave!