Sharp Edges

For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.    John 3:17

I believe God is always working for our good. So, when I end up in a difficult situation, I always ask myself what sharp edges do I have that need to be smoothed away.

The answer is always in how the issue rubs me the wrong way. If I can identify that, and make the necessary changes, that rubbing always files away my jagged edges.

My, oh my! There has been some serious friction going on in my life!

There’s an authority figure in my life right now who flips out whenever a mistake is made, whether by me, or someone else. I’m always on edge, waiting for that powder keg to blow. It’s the worst feeling in the world when your mistakes are thrown back in your face and you’re beaten up because of them.

The first time it happened to me, I was devastated and incredibly demotivated. I wanted to crawl under a rock and wave the white flag. The feelings were intense and all negative.

But when I asked myself what good it could work in my life, I was mortified by the answer. A hard as it is to admit, I’ve been guilty of treating my kids the same way.

When I am well rested and feel I have a bit of control in my life, I am a nurturing mom who helps her kids through their mistakes, lovingly teaching them the better choices they could have made. But when I am exhausted, and my life is spinning out of control, watch out – and RUN for cover!!

I can flip out at the drop of a hat. The bigger the mistake, the more I condemn and shame. I even go as far as digging up old mistakes and flinging those around like mud.

As horrifying as it is, I find ways to justify it: They don’t listen to me unless I yell. Changes doesn’t happen unless I flip out!

Now, being on the receiving end of that, I get that, of course, my kids listen when I yell. Of course, they change their behavior when I flip out. It would be suicide not to.

But, is that how I want to lead my people? Do I want to motivate from a place of condemnation and fear? Of course not! Sadly, it took living out what they’ve been experiencing to really get it.

So, who’s to say what’s bad or good? Having this authority figure in my life has been painful, but I can now see just how necessary it’s been to inspire me to change.

Question for Reflection:

     * Do I motivate my kids from a place of love? Or a place of fear and condemnation?

7 thoughts on “Sharp Edges

  1. You know, I pride myself on the fact that I am not a spanker. However, I am a yeller. I didn’t used to be but my 11 year old is starting to hit puberty and it’s affected her attitude towards authority. So, I find myself yelling more. I think I do it because if I speak calmly she thinks I’m not serious. I dont want her to be afraid of me like I was of my mom. I want her to respect that I am the authority in her life and she can’t respect me if she fears me. I’m giing to try to stop yelling and just hand out punishments. Great post.

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    • Oooh! I have a post coming up soon you’ll love, using some advice a friend gave me last year and it took this long to implement. I’m going to call it “Double Up,” and it is an alternative to yelling (How do you like that commercial teaser?!!!). Having followed your blog for a while, I know you’re doing everything in your power to be a good mom. Your children are blessed to have you! We all stumble; we all fall. I’m sure you’ll get a handle on your yelling and be a better mom for it. Blessings to you in this challenge!

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  2. I love this. It is so true. When we have energy we definitely parent differently. Sometimes it’s easier to yell and have them just do it, than to utilize our strategies. The toll it takes, though, is on them and us. It is exhausting.

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    • I’m so touched you commented, Alison. Thank you! And amen to your “exhausting” comment. I feel this “no yelling” challenge is a relentless one. The minute I think I’m on top of it, I get beaten down and find myself yelling all over again. I suppose it’s a good reminder to me that I can’t expect my kids to conquer their own failings. It’s a constant back and forth journey. Maybe looking at it in that light will remind me that I can’t be so disappointed in them when they backslide because I’m doing it ALL the time!

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  3. Claire, in a phrase from your opening thought, if I can identify (sharp edges within me) and make the necessary changes, the rubbing always files away my jagged edges,”
    coupled with your concluding thought …. I can see just how necessary it’s been (my reaction to difficult situation or person) to inspire me to change, you reveal once again the wisdom God so graciously gives you in His desire for and pleasure in your ongoing transformation. Your reflection here ties in with a chapter I’m reading from Anthony De Mellos’s last meditations The Way to Love, being presently read and studied by the St.M Book Club. It’s a pocket edition easily purchased on Amazon and is both enlightening and challenging for anyone sincerely wishing to be spiritually transformed. The chapter I’m challenged by, and which ties in with your reflection here, I believe, is entitled Bring in the Poor. De Mello’s description of who these poor are in our lives is an eye opener, to say the least. For sure, Claire, you are not alone in what you so humbly and honestly expressed here!!

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    • Thank you, Jackie, for not only sharing your wise thoughts, but for also sharing a great resource and tool! I find the best books I read are recommendations from others who view life the way I do. I will have to put that one on my Amazon shopping list! 🙂

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