A Lesson in Parenting Disobedient Children

Have you ever been so frustrated with your kids that you physically felt the frustration all over your body? That’s me… today. Right here and right now as I type this.

Ticked off. Tired of the nonsense. Ready to tell them to take a hike. (Not that I would ever actually say that, but still... )

I have to say, I rarely get this frustrated with anything at all. Hanging onto wrongs or annoyances -- that’s just not my style. I might get aggravated for a moment, but it always passes quickly and we can all just carry on about our business.

Today is different.

Today I saw a pattern of disrespect that just seemed to come full circle in my children. I’m not frustrated because they are behaving as children/teenagers “typically” would.

I’m upset because of everything my husband and I do to make sure that they have a good, well-rounded life. If I'm being totally honest, I’m frustrated because I feel like I have in some way failed.

We have been intentional about not spoiling our children while still giving them all of what they need and some of what they want. They aren’t given everything they desire, but they need nothing. They don’t float through life without consequences for their misbehavior, they most definitely have experience with consequences.

We regularly practice both grace and discipline with our children. We regularly give out of our abundance and also withhold giving for their own good.

Yet lately these children are selfish ...and prideful ...and disrespectful ...and arrogant ...and disobedient … and entitled.

Selfish? Prideful? Disrespectful? Arrogant? Disobedient? Entitled?

Hey…. wait a minute. That all sounds pretty familiar to me.

I literally just described the way I act toward God

Ouch… that hurts… a lot.

I ask and ask and ask. Then I take and take and take.

Then once I have what I want, I go on about my merry way chasing after the things of my own heart, completely unconcerned about what God has said He wills for my life.

I think I know what is best for my life. I think I am smart enough to figure out my own way. I think God couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to be me, so how He’s described the way His people should live doesn’t necessarily apply to me.

Selfish. Prideful. Disrespectful. Arrogant. Disobedient. Entitled.

Yup. That’s me. And God has every reason to tell me to go take a hike. He has every right to leave me to the consequences of my own choices. Since I know everything, why don’t I just go do it all on my own?

But praise God that that He doesn’t leave me to chase after own sinful desires. When I wander out of bounds, He compassionately shepherds me back into His ways, teaching me to walk in alignment with His will while showing me grace, mercy, and love.

He doesn’t do all of this to spoil me… but to display His own glory. This isn’t about me. None of this is.

His shepherding me…. My parenting them…

It’s all for His purpose and His glory.

While my emotions about the current situation will pass, the lesson my children will learn through me will not.

These are the lessons that will stick.

Will I show them the beauty of grace, mercy, and love? Will I show them how our actions can either glorify God or dishonor Him? Will I use my emotions to highlight my own pride? Or will I use my life to point them to Him?

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

~1 Timothy 1:12–17