Here in America, we hold our rights with tightly closed fists. Our rights are what make us angry with politicians and annoyed when someone cuts us off on the freeway.
“How dare they infringe on my personal rights of freedom?”
“What a jerk! He cut me off! I have a right to get where I am going without any inconveniences.”
Our rights are also what make us angry with your children. This summer I’ve been going through a Bible study with some girl friends called “Stuck” by Jennie Allen and it’s been wreaking havoc on my own sin and selfishness. One night we spent the evening discussing the chapter “Mad.” As each of us (almost all moms or moms-to-be) shared our list of what we think our rights are, I noticed a pattern. Many of us were struggling to respond with grace to our kids because they were infringing upon our “rights.” Check out the list we created and see if you hold these rights close to your chest as well:
- The right to comfort.
- The right to “me time.”
- The right to control my own schedule.
- The right to a goods night sleep.
- The right to a daily shower.
- The right to have obedient children.
Can you relate? The reality for us who have made Jesus Lord of our lives is that we no longer have any rights. It sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But we must look to the example of our King! Jesus came to serve, not to be served. He sacrificed His life so that we might live-both now, and forever. Jesus gave up His ultimate right to remain with the Father in the comfort of His own home, and came to live as a man. From my understanding of the Bible, Jesus did not give us new life so that we could create a comfortable existence for ourselves based on our wants and desires. He did not promise a life of ease or comfort. What He did promise was an abundant life. And when you spend your life living for Someone else, and serving others, you are filled to the brim with deep down joy. Have you ever met an elderly person who said, “I wish I would have served others less and thought of myself more.”
“How dare he infringe on my Facebook time! He can play with his blocks himself!”
“What a stinker! I have a right to eat my meal in peace without having to deal with my emotionally distraught drama queen daughter!”
Stop parenting within the rights you think you deserve. Yes, we all need a break now and then from the constant barrage of serving our children. It is hard work and tiring. However, I know God has really shown me that I often respond out of anger or impatience to my children simply because they are an inconvenience and infringing upon the rights I think I have. I am not entitled to a carefree day of mothering! Give up your rights and embrace a life of grace with your children. It’s worth it!