Being "stuck" isn't always a good feeling. It means we don't know what to do, what step to take next, what direction to go. It's frustrating. But there is something good in being stuck. It causes us to pause, think, ask for help, and redirect.
As I was praying the other day I was telling God that I was stuck in a particular issue with my 5 year old daughter. "God, we just keep going in circles! We've been over this a thousand times and yet it continues to happen! I'm so frustrated and I really don't know what to do anymore. Why won't she just listen!"
It was in that very moment that I heard God say to me "Honey, I ask myself that every day!" Ok, ok, He didn't use that lingo exactly, but He did remind me how often I "just won't listen". How often I do my own thing and go my own way even though I know better. Mmmmmmm, good old humble pie. I chewed on that for a few minutes and quickly came back with, "yes, God, I get it. I really do. I seriously need to work on that....But that still doesn't solve my problem." (Wow. I clearly didn't have enough of that humble pie.)
I wanted the solution NOW. I mean, don't we want everything NOW? When we're stuck it's uncomfortable and we want a quick fix. Everything is a level 10 emergency. When our cars break down we want them fixed right away. When the dishwasher won't work we need a plumber STAT! When the hair dryer blows up we need a new one ASAP! If our phones... Oh man, I can't even go there. We can live a few days without a car but there is no possible way to live without our phones for one second! Am I right? My point is, naturally, when our children aren't cooperating we think there's something wrong with them and we feel like we need to fix them NOW.
The truth is they don't need us to fix them they need us to help them. They need us to stop looking at the external and look deeper. Sometimes we get so focused on WHAT our children are doing we forget to look at the WHY.
Upon further consumption of that delicious humble pie, I realized that this is the reason I was stuck. I was looking at her behavior instead of her heart. I was missing the most important piece of the puzzle. I was trying so hard to fix instead of help. Correct instead of connect. And that simply doesn't work. Have you noticed that God doesn't try to fix us? He is forever molding and shaping us, gently, with compassion and understanding. He's there for us and ready to help us, walk with us, and guide us when we need Him. This was my "Aha!" moment.
While being stuck was frustrating, I'm thankful for what it taught me. What I desire most of all is a relationship with my child that goes deeper than trying to control what she does or doesn't do on the surface. I want to guide her and help her overcome obstacles, walk with her through difficulties, be there for her when she's struggling, and offer grace to her a million times over, like Jesus has done for us, because none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and our children are no exception.
If you find yourself stuck in a parenting rut, as frustrating as it may seem, remember it's not such a bad place to be. Reach out, reflect, and redirect. Look beneath the WHAT and search out the WHY.
Oh! And if it's been a while since you've had a piece of humble pie, I've got plenty in the freezer to share! :)