I love mornings. Mornings are full of promise. There is a whole day ahead of you and it’s a clean slate just begging you to create something wonderful out of it. I also love the quiet. Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee, my bible, and a journal. I always thought of it as my quiet time to be alone with Jesus. To learn from him, and gain strength from him to face my day. Today I read in a devotional that maybe we should look at it more like getting our game faces on.
I had recently written a blog post on being weary on the battlefield so this intrigued me. The author talked about how the best athletes are incredibly calm going into a game or event and it is because of their pre-game routine. They prepare themselves for the contest or battle ahead of them. So, while yes, I need to quiet myself before the Lord, I do really like the idea of preparing myself for the day’s battles that are inevitably ahead of me.
Family life has a tendency to be a battle. There are fights over toys, who gets the biggest piece of cake, whose milk is still on the table, who does the most chores, etc. There are also loads of complaints about why we have to eat healthy, why we have to do chores, why we have to go to bed on time, etc. And since it is like a battle every day, I enjoy the thought of preparing myself for it as I often feel rather unprepared and caught off guard.
For the longest time I would pray that my day would go well and then get frustrated when everything seemed to fall apart by 10 am. I would pray that my kids would get along and then freak out because I have told them a hundred times not to call each other names. I felt the weight of trying to get it all to run smoothly. To make these kids turn out right.
But what if that is not the goal?
What if the goal is to teach these kids how to fight their own battles against their flesh? What if I look at each fight not as a failure on my part for not raising them right but instead as an opportunity to help a fellow warrior realize the real battle they are in? The battle against their own flesh and the devil’s schemes to terrorize our lives?
If I look at it that way it is easier to handle. It is no longer my failure as a parent, but instead it is a fellow warrior who has fallen on the battlefield. And I have the awesome privilege to help them get back up on their feet and keep going.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I still hear my kids scream and cringe and sigh because I don’t always feel like going through the motions of helping them see their sin, apologize, and work it out. Especially when it’s not even noon and this is probably the twentieth time it has happened. And I still get very frustrated when they continue to call each other names despite the fact that we have spent YEARS talking about being kind and implementing consequences for that behavior.
And yet in those moments I remember my dear grandmother telling me about the proverb that says, “Train them in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it.”
She then laughed and said, “And by old, it might be when they are 40.”
Oh boy. I have a LOOONNNNGGGG way to go.
So this morning I got up, made my coffee, sat with Jesus and He helped me get my game face on. Today may not be perfect. In fact, I can guarantee there will be fights, tears, and maybe even some blood (skinned knees, cuts, and bruises).
But with my game face on and Jesus by my side I can view these things as growth opportunities instead of failures.
And that just makes it a whole lot easier to face the day. Bring it on!