Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Preparing to Teach Truths

My husband and I are preparing to be foster parents.

We could parent boys or girls.

As we have been preparing for this monumental change, I've been examining our lives and the lessons we may impart. I was surprised by a couple silent messages (lies) I found in my life.

Message #1: Failure is Unacceptable.

Somewhere along the line, I bought into the lie that in all things, at all times, I must strive for perfection in everything I do. Failure was not an option for me in my book. I have slowly been working on this one for quite a while now. Somehow I forgot that failure is a normal part of human life and it is the path through which learning occurs. But, by trying to avoid the sting of failure, I isolated myself from the thrill of a hard-earned victory after multiple attempts.

Message #2: Self-Limits are Acceptable.

In order to avoid failure, I began to slowly limit myself and stop doing things that were not my strengths. I told myself that it was better for me to play to my strengths and outsource things that were my weaknesses. When I tell myself that I am not good with tools, computers, math, or any other difficult project, I was not allowing myself to thrive in new settings.

Message #3: I Can't.

Before I even tried new things or difficult projects, I would give a knee-jerk reaction of "I can't." I would not try because I was afraid that I could not.

So what does this have to do with fostering?

As we are preparing to foster, we are working to get our house up to the CPS-level standards necessary to be entrusted with a child. We are moving things, rearranging items, installing stuff, and other such fixings.

I found myself removing doorknobs and reinstalling safer ones. With my husband's guidance, I installed and moved/installed smoke detectors. I was sorting, organizing, and securing tools in multiple toolboxes. I hooked up my own computer and less than a week later, I swapped desks with my husband (he was on board with it too), prompting me to switch & hook up two computers.

This was when I realized that to change the messages I send to our kids, I would need to first change these messages in me as I replace lies with truth.

Truth #1: Failure is How We Learn:

I realized that I did not want to teach our kids that they should not go to bat because they were afraid that they might strike out. Instead I want them to know that failure is normal and a learning process.

Truth #2: Growing and Challenging Myself is Acceptable:

I did not want our kids shying away from Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math because it is hard or too boy-dominated. I want them to try, struggle, fail, struggle, and finally succeed because that journey has made them into a person who does not give up at the first sign of potential trouble.

Truth #3: I am capable:

I did not want our kids to not even try because their inner voice was telling them that they can't. But rather, I want them to have truth rooted so deeply in them, that whenever a voice of society feeds them lies, the truth will speak out. People do not have to play dumb or play stereotypes to fit the world's molds. Girls can reinstall doorknobs. Boys can do laundry. We can make a difference in the world.

We just have to try.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Accepting ALL of the Body of Christ

I was reading a book recently on communion that spoke of the body of Christ. It proposed that when we reject others in the body of Christ, we are rejecting Christ Himself.

I once heard someone say that when we insult the Church, we are insulting the Bride of Christ. I doubt many husbands would take a friend's remark kindly if they said, "Don't get me wrong, I like to spend time with you, but I don't like your wife & don't want to spend time with her." Yet that is the equivalent of what we say to Jesus when we spurn His Bride.

But what if the insult is deeper, is much more personal than not liking your best friend's spouse? Christ is not just the Bridegroom of the Church, He is also the Head of the Church. So when we tell Jesus that we don't want to spend time with the Church, we are essentially saying that we only want to spend time with His face, not His hands, feet, or body.

Can you imagine that conversation?

Jesus: Hey, man! Wanna hang out with Me later?
Human: Sure thing! You know how much I like to spend time with You.
Jesus: Sweet! I think we could feed some homeless people, donate things we no longer use to a thrift store, volunteer at that new soup kitchen...Wait, you don't look too thrilled anymore.
Human: Well, it's just...hmmm...I don't know how to put this...Your body stinks, Jesus. I mean, I don't mind hanging out with Your head, but the rest of You stinks. Part of You are dirty and I don't want to touch them. How can you expect me to give You a hug when Your arms haven't touched water in who knows how long? And look at Your leg! It is bloody and all gross-like!!
*Jesus looks at the human in disbelief.*
Jesus: Do you want to remove My head to take Me with you for coffee?
*Human looks relieved and pulls out an ax.*
Human: And here I was worried that You wouldn't understand. Is there a tree stump around somewhere to make this easier?
Jesus: My body goes where I go. It may be a different color than you. It may be messy, dirty, and stinky. Parts of My body have problems & injuries, and is hurting & troubled, but this is My body, that was broken for you. You don't get to choose which parts you like best or which parts make you the most comfortable.

How does Jesus feel if we just want to hang out with Him & not the rest of His body because it's...
...a different color (or from the wrong side of town)?
...struggling with problems?

When we don't want to spend time with a fellow follower of Christ, it is more than not liking our brother or sister. It is more than not caring for your friend's wife. It is shunning the body of your Savior.