Mamas On the Narrow Road

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“Self-control” seems to be the topic of the day around our house.

I’m constantly telling my kids: control your urge to talk back… control your urge to be selfish…control your urge to focus on what you don’t have, and instead focus on what you do have.

All the same while the words come out of my mouth to my kids, the same words come out of my Father’s mouth to me: Elisha, control your urge to fight back… control your urge to be impatient… control your urge to be fearful, to be offended, to be defeated.

I tell my kids, and my Father tells me: Control… control… control.

Self-control is a very rebellious quality these days, isn’t it? I mean, who needs self-control when our bad choices are labeled as ‘diseases’ or ‘addictions’ – and, if we have a ‘disease’ or an ‘addiction’, we, therefore, have no fault. And, if we really have no fault, our choices don’t really matter. And, if our choices don’t really matter, why should we care about self-control at all?

But I have no desire to raise children who are always looking for the ‘out’, or who don’t understand the power of choice. I want to raise kids the way my Father is raising me: with a spirit of love, and power and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7); to understand that every choice has a consequence; and, that pain comes from bad choices, and goodness comes from good choices.

Because the Truth of life is this: we can travel on the wide road, or the narrow road.

The wide road is easy to find – and it’s where we find lots of people to journey with. Everything is okay on the wide road… and, as one of my favorite songs says, “the crowd is quick to push [us] along”. The problem with the wide road, however, is that it leads to heartache. Why? Because the wide road doesn’t require anything from us! It requires no self-control, no discipline; there is no thoughtfulness, wisdom, or moral compass. We do what we want, how we want, according to our own ideas – and that means there is no ‘right’, there is no ‘wrong’, there is no ‘truth’, there is no ‘lie’.  It’s all about us and no one else on the wide road… and no one really knows where they’re going or the ‘right’ way to go because there is no ‘there’ to get to. (I know because I stumbled down this road for far to many years of my life…)

The narrow road, on the other hand, is hard to get to and even harder to navigate successfully. It requires everything from us. It requires we think before we step; it requires we be fully awake, alert, and prepared. It is vigorous, and it requires total dedication and attention. On the narrow road we must pay attention to the One in front of us calling us to follow, but be especially mindful of those that are behind us because they depend on our example to show them the way.  The narrow road requires we sweat, and work, and have a plan; it requires we endure, and persevere, and have a sober mind. Most importantly, the narrow road requires we have our mind set on our final destination because it is knowing where we’re going (and the joy we anticipate once we arrive) that makes the difficult journey worth the effort.

So, let’s all be rebels today, shall we? Let’s rebel from the wide road and CHOOSE to be mamas on a narrow road… mamas that are loving, and powerful, and who gloriously display our super-power of self-control in the midst of a culture (and our own human tendencies) that tells us to be otherwise. And, most importanly, let’s grasp JOY in our journey, in spite of how tough it can be (and, yes! God knows it can be tough), knowing there are little feet behind us traveling our same path and depending on us to lead them to L I F E.

 

The Scale Is Not Your Friend

Yesterday my 11 year old daughter said, “Mom, we need a scale”.

“A scale,” I asked?

“Yeah – so and so has a scale and when I weighed myself I weighed more than I thought I would. I want a scale so I can keep track of what I weigh.”

“Honey,” I said, “what has you worried about how much you weigh? Do you feel good and strong?”

“Yes,” she says.

“Can you do what you want to with your body without struggle?”

“Yes,” she says.

“Then that’s all that matters. Having the scale’s opinion doesn’t help you feel better or perform stronger – it just gives you a number that means nothing for who you are.”

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We don’t own a scale – and, although we have constant conversations about fitness, we don’t talk about weight in our home.

Weight doesn’t matter to me because it’s just one small piece of the puzzle. What does matter to me is that my kids understand their bodies are a reflection of what they are putting in.  I always tell them that our body gives us physical cues on whether or not we are making the right choices: if our bodies are saying something to us (like with clothes that are fitting to snug, or with sickness, or with fatigue and lack of strength), that’s when we know we aren’t doing something right.

Does the scale help us feel better? No. As I told my girl, the scale does nothing but give us a number that fits (or doesn’t fit) someone else’s arbitrary weight grid. The number doesn’t measure the quality of food we are intaking, how much muscle we have, or whether or not we are comfortable in our skin.

And that’s one of my foundational goals: to raise children that are 100% comfortable in their skin.

I want my children to love good food, love who they were created to be, and are empowered with the understanding their bodies are speaking to them every day. 

It’s not fat grams and calories we have to count, and/or the number on the scale we have to pay attention to… it’s simply making sure that we are in control of our bodies – and that our body isn’t in control of us.