I'll be honest, painfully honest. I have a history of shutting people down with my fast responses.
Twenty years ago I sat across the table from a friend as she shared some marriage challenges. Instead of being compassionate, understanding or allowing her to get it out, I was quick to offer her what I thought was the biblical response.
It pretty much shut her down.
The conversation ended awkwardly and I felt horrible. From that point on, I vowed to listen more than speak, and reserve my opinions for the right time. Which meant seeking God's will, rather than feeding my own "need" to be heard.
God worked in me and I've seen amazing changes in myself. Then I became a parent of teenagers. It was like some crazy "freak out" gene flared to life. Instead of practicing what I learned many years before, I let my opinionated inner self reign!
And pretty much shut down my kids.
I'll admit most of it was fear driven. If they even hinted curiosity at anything that fell outside my moral perimeters, they were "treated" to my arsenal of opinions and beliefs. I justified my reactions by saying I was teaching my children right from wrong. But I was really closing doors to communication.
A few years ago, I put myself back in school, and started to retrain myself to not react quickly.
Yesterday, something happened that showed my change in reaction is paying off. My middle son asked me a very loaded question.
"Mom, would it be wrong to use a drug that is legal but had the same affect as an illegal drug?"
Pause. Silence. I'm collecting myself. Breathe. Breathe.
Now all you mommas out there are probably thinking exactly what I was thinking. "WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THAT??? DO YOU WANT TO USE AN ILLEGAL DRUG?"
But this son didn't deserve my paranoid response. He's never given me reason to question his integrity. He deserved a calm answer from a mom who trusted him.
So I gave him a simple answer to a complex question. No lecture. No interrogation. No fear-based response. And the day went on.
It's my prayer that he'll trust my response next time he has a hard question. I've blown it so many times, I'm thanking God for a glimmer of hope.
In His Love,