Today’s blog is a re-post from February 2013.
Are you a weary parent? Are you drained? Depleted? Worn out from dealing with your child’s rebelliousness, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorder, forms of self-injury like cutting and burning, pornography, mental illness, sexual identity issues and continuous arrests? If you’re like me, you lack something. Because of what’s missing, you keep saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” to your child’s requests for help – more money, more of this and more of that.
Why do we do this? Why do we keep denying our feelings? Why do we continue to give in when we really want to stand firm and say no? What happened to us? Where did our healthy boundaries go?
What do we lack? COURAGE. Been there. Done that. How about you? We’re like Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. Remember him? Afraid of everything, including his own shadow, he had no courage, no verve – vigor, spirit or enthusiasm – to stand up for himself in frightening situations. We’re like that. If only we could go along with Dorothy and her companions to see the wonderful, powerful Wizard of Oz. Maybe somewhere down deep in his black, velvet bag he has a medal of bravery with our name on it. That’s exactly what we need. But wait – I’ve found another source. A much better one.
The Serenity Prayer tells me what that source is:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
We need God to give us the courage we lack – courage to change what we can. I sure can’t change my child. I can only change myself. And boy, is that hard. I don’t do it very well on my own. I’m not strong enough. Most of us aren’t.
Oh God, we need your help. Give us the courage to say “no” when we need to. Help us accept that it won’t be easy. At times it will be downright scary. Things might even get worse. Our child will experience pain – so will we. It will probably evoke a negative response from them – maybe a loud, unpleasant one. Help us overcome our fears. Help us develop tough skin to withstand their adverse reactions. We want to be strong so we can say “yes” to a healthier life and “no” when it’s truly the more loving thing to do – for both our child and ourselves.
These two Bible verses give me a huge dose of courage:
Psalm 121: 1-2
“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
With God’s help you can be courageous. I encourage you to print out the Serenity Prayer and use it daily. I keep it taped to the bathroom mirror. You can use the short version I’ve included in this blog, or choose from one of the many nice looking ones you can find on the internet. Google “Serenity Prayer”. You may even prefer the full length version.