Each week I get the chance to talk with a friend who lives in another state. Our phone conversations start and end the same way, always: exchanging updates on where we left off last week and discussing new shame-inducing experiences that somehow get redeemed and become learning opportunities. These conversations have become a highlight of each week for me.
Today, after about an hour and a half of chatting, she thanked me for reminding her of a few things she needed to work on as a mother. See, I’ve been obsessing over a few issues with my boys and shared them with her. As it turned out, she was concerned over the same things as well.
Without going into too much detail, I thought I’d share the main points from today’s conversation. There was so much food for thought, and so much to unpack that even if only one thing stuck with you, you’d find yourself in a better place tomorrow. Besides, it’s always better to learn from others–it keeps you from having to go through the same mistakes yourself.
So read on and start unpacking.
- When it comes to your life, you choose your own battles. When it comes to your children’s lives, allow them the freedom to do the same. And remember, your job isn’t to fight their battles for them. It’s to give them the foundation they need, so they are able to stand up against their enemies.
- Life is all about making decisions. And many times, we make impulsive ones. For some of us, to make these decisions sound legit, we claim we prayed for them and have received the go-signal. However, once a decision has been set into motion, and the consequences start happening, we all move on to a different playing field altogether. And the ending is what will separate the chaff from the grain. Here are a few things to consider: when things don’t work out the way your infatuated heart hoped they will, will you see things through? If you made the wrong decision, and it’s too late to turn back, will you work to make things right? Or will you jump ship, and in a few months time, jump into another mess? We’re all guilty of making the wrong choices. It’s what we do after that marks the difference.
- When bad things happen, regardless of whether you are at fault or not, will you focus on the unfairness of it all and whine about your lot? Or will you accept it, roll up your sleeves and start finding a way out? And if there’s no way out, will you take things day by day, discovering that the faith you claim to have is becoming more real each minute?
- There are two kinds of suffering, and before we take credit for what we’re going through, let’s learn to distinguish one from the other. There’s the suffering that is the result of choosing to stay true to one’s principles and convictions no matter what, and then there’s the suffering that’s brought on by one’s own stupidity. Often, I suffer from the second one. It’s no use denying it.
After being honest about our individual walks, my friend and I had a good laugh over our many failures. We both know ourselves well enough to admit how unlovable we are when no one is around to impress. But tomorrow is always another day. And grace, no matter how low we’ve sunk, can reach us still.