Twila Paris sings a song, The Warrior is A Child, about a Christian minister who falls into his Father’s arms when he gets hurt or tired, despite others thinking he is a tough warrior. I love that song because it so clearly depicts the parent’s or stepparent’s dilemma. We are supposed to be strong, to remain calm and wise, to bear all the stepkids’ attacks and our own children’s tests, and to be saintly to our dear spouse. But we can be just as weak and just as prone to failures as anyone else in our family … can’t we?
I lost it last night. I have excuses. Input overload; tired from pressures of work; frustrated over numerous small problems; a slow Internet signal; cats determined to steal some of our cheese dip; on and on. You know, life. Anyway, one straw too many was dropped onto this camel’s back and I sort of, you know, … exploded at everyone. Threw a fit. Had a tantrum. Acted inappropriately. And ruined what had been until my outburst a perfect evening at home. My darling wife had blessed me with a short nap when we got home, then a wonderful dinner, then a quiet evening together. And I blew it.
On my way to work this morning I stopped at a little park on the way and gathered the fragments of my mind for a moment by the lake. It is a perfectly still, cool morning today, so the surface of the lake is like a sheet of glass. No ducks or geese make trails across the water today. As I look at the lake, I see so clearly the trees, rocks, and walkers on the other side of the lake, reflected in the pristine surface. An occasional bubble from a bottom feeding turtle breaks the surface and causes ripples that disrupt the serene picture in the liquid mirror, but overall it’s perfect.
The Bible says, “Be still and know that I Am God.” And, once again, He is right.
When I am at peace, I more clearly reflect God. Looking at that lake surface, you have to really focus to see the lake itself. Instead, you see what is reflected on it’s peaceful face, in this case, the beautiful natural setting on the other side of the lake. When I am at peace, you do not at first see me. You see what I reflect.
However, on a windy day when waves disrupt the lake, or when outside forces disturb it (like ducks or rocks thrown by someone), the lake itself jumps into view. You lose the serene picture of the reflection and are jolted back to looking only at the lake and what’s disturbing it.
How much time do you devote to peaceful meditation and prayer? How many times during the day do you sit aside the jangling issues of your life to find your peaceful, quiet center? (“Be still and know that I Am God.”)
If you are a spouse to someone you value; if you are a parent to a normal child; if you are a stepparent to a “typical” stepchild, you need to “renew your strength” on a regular basis. To be who your mate, your children, and your stepchildren depend on, you must give them the gift of a peaceful you. And in order to have that peaceful you available for them, you must take time for your surface to grow calm.
I know, I know. In a hectic daily grind life of work, chores, responsibilities, parenting, marriage, and everything else, it can seem impossible to find your quiet self. But of all your tasks, this one is one of the most important. You MUST do it. In order to be the person your family is depending upon, you MUST repair your soul regularly. Join a prayer group or a Bible study class or a yoga class. Find a quiet park on the way to work and leave early enough to stop there. Hire a coach to guide you.
Get something in place to help you. Because, if you’re like the vast majority of overburdened individuals out there, you’ll set it aside and place your serenity last. If you put it off, if you let it slide, you will wake up someday ashamed and disturbed at what you’ve become. You owe it to your family, your God, and yourself to do this.
If you just cannot find a way to find your peaceful center otherwise, I will help. But whatever method or assistant you choose, DO IT. Your future is counting on you.
God bless your whole family!
STEPcoach Bob Collins
To hear Twila Paris’ song and read the lyrics, you can go here: http://artists.letssingit.com/twila-paris-lyrics-warrior-is-a-child-dcc26pg