Whose Approval Are You Seeking?

approval I wear a lot of hats these days. I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm a writer. I'm an editor. I'm a teacher. I'm the primary chauffeur. I'm the cook. I'm the house cleaner. I'm the birthday party planner. I'm the keeper of the calendar.

Of all those jobs, one of the most important is my job as a mom. God has gifted me with two amazing, talented, incredible young ladies to raise. Some days I'm pretty good at it and other days, I'm a complete failure.

When your primary job is mom, though, it becomes really easy to pull your self-worth from the accomplishments of your children. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that when they excel, it's because of something you did and when they fail, it's also because of something you did. We get trapped into thinking that our children's success or failure actually depends on us.

There's no discounting that parents play a role in the success of their kids, but there's also no discounting that our children our their own people. They have their own minds, emotions and dreams. They don't always think like we do. They don't always react the way we would. They don't always make the choices we would make.

And when that happens, we often try to make their choices about us. We make it our fault or our success instead of recognizing that our children's successes or failures are theirs. They're not ours.

My younger daughter has been struggling to get herself organized in middle school. Just as she was starting to get it together, she got sick and missed a week of school. We took two steps back in the organization department. My frustration with her was definitely out of proportion. Instead of using it as a learning opportunity, I found myself getting really upset with her because she wasn't handling things the way I would handle them. Instead of teaching her, I made her cry.

Because I forgot an important part of my job description as a mom. It's my job to love my kids. It's my job to guide them. It's my job to help them. It's my job to discipline them. It is not my job to make them into little mini clones of me.

God gives us our children to direct and guide. He doesn't give them to us to make their choices for them. He created our children with the same free will that He gave us. He created them to make their own choices, to forge their own path. He gave our children us to help them find Him, to offer wisdom, to guide and correct them. We're supposed to be their coach, their mentor, not someone who makes all their decisions for them.

I know that when I want to take over my kids' decision-making, it's usually because I'm being selfish. I'm worried about how my child's choices are going to reflect on me as a parent. My decisions aren't necessarily being made out of what's best for my child but out of what people are going to think about me. And that's wrong.

My parenting and everything else I do in my life needs to be about God. My parenting needs to measure up to the standard of Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." I need to be concerned about whether God is going to approve of my parenting, not whether my friend or my neighbor is.

I know that lately my parenting has been way too tied up in worrying about how my daughters' decisions reflect on me and not enough about how my parenting decisions are being viewed by God. So, today, I'm going to worry less about how my daughters' actions reflect on my parenting skills and more about how my parenting is living up to God's standards. Won't you join me?