Welcome to the first of our 6-part series, OWN YOUR MIND BUSINESS! In this series, we will learn to equip our children to recognize and wrangle their thoughts and feelings, as well as learn how to do the same with our own thoughts and feelings.
Mac and I are about to celebrate our 31th anniversary. We have 4 kids…2 of them I gave birth to, Emily (27) and Joe (25), and 2 who gradually became part of our family over the last few years, Allyson (27) and Sylvie (24). Our nest is now empty, most of the time.
From an early age, Emily was passionate about all the things – and that’s a good thing! As her mom, it’s my job to channel that passion, not change it.
When Emily was about 10-years-old, Mac was sitting on the staircase talking with her about something she had done wrong. He told her, “Emily, just apologize. Just say, ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong.’” She replied, “I know I was wrong. I just can’t convince myself.” She knew in her head, but she couldn’t convince her heart. Her head and her heart were not in alignment.
All of us have experienced this in one way or another, and your kids have likely experienced this, too. We KNOW something to be true, but we just aren’t FEELING it. Common examples are:
- I KNOW I’m not the only mom who doesn’t know what she’s doing, but I sure FEEL like I am.
- I KNOW God says He’ll never leave me, but I don’t FEEL Him near me.
- My son KNOWS he needs to be kind to his baby sister, but he’s just not FEELING it.
- I KNOW my day will be better if I exercise, get more sleep, turn the TV off earlier, quit the mindless social media scrolling, and eat something other than goldfish, but I don’t FEEL like it.
Let me remind you that feelings are real, but feelings aren’t always reliable. Our feelings, if we’re not careful, can get in the way of our living the life we are created to live.
Like feelings, sometimes our thoughts get in the way, too. Our thoughts – built on fact or sometimes on fiction – can run away and take us for a ride, even when we KNOW they are illogical or unlikely.
Thoughts and feelings are powerful and they dramatically affect the choices we make and the actions we take. Our minds and our hearts are fertile ground for these thoughts and feelings, good and bad, helpful and hurtful. As Fearless Moms, we embrace the responsibility to recognize and wrangle these thoughts and feelings, and our imaginations and emotions.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5
“Pay careful attention to your own work.” In other words, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. And in this series, we’re going to learn to OWN YOUR MIND BUSINESS. Own your thoughts and feelings. Look at them. Be curious about them. Be honest about them. Evaluate them. Take responsibility for them. And then, learn to develop healthy thoughts and feelings. WE ARE EACH RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN CONDUCT. We embrace the responsibility to OWN OUR MIND BUSINESS.
To live the lives we are created to live, to be the moms we are created to be and to raise up these kids to be who they’re created to be, we need to learn how to recognize and wrangle these thoughts before they become unhealthy thought patterns or our feelings drive us to react with emotion instead of responding with wisdom.
Here’s our theme verse for this series:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:6-8
With young adults, teenagers, and even preteens, there are higher rates of depression and anxiety, and a staggering lack of emotional resilience – the inability to rebound from everyday hits and hurts, disappointment, or loss. This contributes to the entitlement and victim mentality that is prevalent among high schools and colleges today.
The good news is that there are choices we can make and actions we can take to equip our kids to become strong, resilient, competent, independent adults by focusing on our responsibility as parents.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
As Fearless Moms, we embrace the responsibility to equip our children to become strong, resilient, competent, independent adults. We do the necessary work, even when it’s hard: even when we make mistakes, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s working, even when we are tired, even when our kids are mean to us, even when our kids don’t seem to hear a thing we say, and even when we are overwhelmed.
Our goal in this series is to learn how to arm our kids with SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-CONTROL. I believe the strategies we will learn in this series can reverse some of the trends we see today, especially as technology plays a larger and larger role in our lives. I’m not anti-technology. Technology has made our lives easier and better in many ways, but it has also taken away some learning opportunities for us and for our kids.
The progression of technology has led to the regression of independence, such as problem-solving, self-regulation, experiencing and learning from failure, and understanding the concept of cause and effect.
The progression of technology has led to the regression of self-control. As we INCREASE screen time, we DECREASE, waiting, inconvenience, delayed gratification, and solitude.
This isn’t a call to remove technology from our lives, rather it’s a call to be intentional about technology.
We KNOW that studies show a direct correlation between SELF-CONTROL and future success and fulfillment. SELF-CONTROL can be learned and developed, like a new skill or a muscle. We also know that to learn and develop SELF-CONTROL, you must first learn and develop SELF-AWARENESS.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
SELF-CONTROL: Owning the space between thoughts and actions, between feelings and behaviors.
Impulsive children and impulsive adults have little to no space between thoughts and actions or between feelings and behaviors YET. We know this is something we can teach and learn!
- Little Johnny sees a friend in the parking lot at Target and darts across to give him a hug. How sweet of him! How dangerous to him. Little Johnny has no space between his thought and his action…YET.
Then there are those who have all the thoughts and feelings and lots of space. Do you know someone who has lots of thoughts and feelings but has a difficult time expressing them, or chooses not to express them?
- Little Joe rarely lets things get to him. He seems to roll with the punches. Until one day his sister steps over the line and suggests that what he’s wearing looks funny. The volcano erupts and easy-going, seldom-ruffled Joe responds as if his sister threatened to kill him. Joe has the space between his feelings and behavior, he just isn’t doing anything with that space…YET.
All of us have thoughts and feelings, so we must embrace the responsibility to use SELF-CONTROL to identify, process, express, and overcome these thoughts and feelings. How we go about that is different for everyone, but the basic steps are the same.
- Spot the space
- Own the space
- Increase or utilize the space
SELF-AWARENESS is necessary for growth, and self-awareness requires honesty, humility, a community of people you trust, and journaling.
So, your SELF-AWARENESS CHALLENGE this week is this:
Work to SPOT THE SPACE between your thoughts and actions, your feelings and behaviors. Are you OWNING THE SPACE? Do you need to INCREASE THE SPACE? Do you need to UTILIZE THE SPACE?