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August 14, 2014 / BTM

How Do You Keep From Bottoming Out In Parenting?

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About this time during the summer holidays, two thoughts always hit me. First, its always sad to see summer begin to wane. All the back to school sales become more forceful and compelling, reminding me that September is almost here.

But I also often feel tired from the push of summer. We’ve had personality conflicts. We’ve worked on character traits. We’ve had distractions and last minute requests and extra work and inertia to plow against.

Plus I’ve mentioned before that we make the most of the summer months to find ways to teach our kids about Christianity. Most days I try to do some sort of a fun, hands on learning activity. They’re short and to the point – about 15 minutes in all. But its hard to keep that pace up in the midst of everything else. I never have all of my activities or ideas planned out before summer begins, and I never have time to create new ideas during the summer months, although I always think I will! By mid-August, I have a harder time keeping up the pace of thinking creatively of ways to teach our kids about their faith. It would be easy to just give up at this point. Really, I’d rather just let the rest of summer roll on by from the comfort of the hammock.

That’s why I was particularly happy to receive this little zinger from Kevin DeYoung. 

In his book Crazy Busy, among other things DeYoung argues that most Western Christians do not really expect to struggle or suffer in their lives. We don’t expect struggle to be a daily or on-going activity. We do not expect our service or calling to include difficulty or struggle or extreme challenge. We don’t expect it to be taxing – or at least not very taxing – on ourselves. We don’t expect to have to constantly push ourselves. We often expect sympathy and to be extended “a break” when things get tough or we get tired or frustrated.

Now, I would not call my summer ‘suffering’ in any way. And yet, I’m still tempted to throw in the towel and ride the rest of the summer out.

Here’s DeYoung’s challenge: What if parenting – or anything else in our calling – isn’t supposed to be easy?

Deep down, don’t you kind of expect it to be easy, and feel like something is wrong when its not? What if parenting is meant to be challenging? To push us to our limits? To demand a lot of us? What if we are meant to use all of ourselves and all of our resources to equip our kids to be the best adults we can, realizing that the end results lies in God’s hands and our children’s choices?

And what if our kids are not the only thing we are to spend our lives on (because they aren’t our only calling)?

What if our lives are supposed to look a bit more like Paul’s in 2 Cor 11?

I’m not saying we need to run around like chickens with our heads cut off. I’m not saying there aren’t ebbs and flows to that busyness (we all need breaks to be refreshed and recharged). But I think our overarching approach to parenting and the rest of the items within our calling should be done to the utmost of our abilities. We need to push ourselves. It is actually important, and we are expected to do it.

And so now I’m going to go and do my best to finish the summer off well.

What helps to keep you on track with your responsibilities as a parent and a Christian?


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