When Mazy was a baby, I had this high expectation of myself to raise this well-behaved, sleep through the night, eat everything under the sun, compliant baby. I mean who doesn’t go into having their first kid, thinking that in some shape or form? It doesn’t matter how many children you have, we all set out to the best parent(s) we can be, which in and of itself, is a beautiful thing. To do the best we can.
In attempting to be the best parent I can be, I often am so busy looking at others, instead of looking up at the Creator who made me in HIS image, not someone else’s.
My parenting will not look like anyone else’s, but I still try to make it look like so. My child will not look like anyone else’s, but I still try to make her so. I try to make her fit the books. I will never forget when Mazy was first born; I tried to do the Baby Wise method. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with this method and in fact, have seen it work on several kids/families. After 5 weeks though of trying to follow this method to a T, my husband kindly asked me to stop reading “the books” and let it go. I didn’t particularly like that comment at the time, but I knew it’s I needed to hear.
Instead of trying to raise Mazy in HIS image, I was trying to raise her in a book’s image.
I learned a lot about myself that first year. I went into parenting WAY too confident and sure of how things were going to go. And my Father didn’t call me to live according to the books, but according to HIS image.
But how often do I see others through the lens of my own opinion?
God has knocked me upside the head way too many times to count. I’m surprised I don’t get more headaches! I am NOT the judge of someone else’s life. But how often do I cast judgement on someone else’s way of living between my two ears, in my messed up brain, thinking “this” is how they should live life, instead of seeing them through the lens of God? The very God who created that person in HIS image?
We base our expectations, opinions, and preferences often on fads and not the Bible. Just think about all of the “stuff” our culture says we should be doing? Keto diet. Mediterranean diet. Sling bags. Newest I-phone. Latest subscription. Bullet journaling. Hole-y jeans. Organic vegetables. No meat Mondays. Shiplap.
Now before the hairs on the back of your neck start rising, not due to static electricity, NONE, I mean NONE of these things are wrong. I only list them because they are just some popular trends in culture. But NONE of them are wrong. But the problem lies when I view people through the lens of these what’s popular and think that other people should be doing them too.
I’ve talked about the Mediterranean diet for heart failure purposes, but by ALL means, I expect no one else to do it. I don’t expect my family to abide by it either. When it comes to others with any given “thing” that I do, I can be so quick to judge. I made homemade baby food for Mazers. I even blended up meat, like chicken and beef. I’m telling you, I was a diehard. Ha! I didn’t understand why Mazy wouldn’t eat it, until I tried it. Are you kidding me, Kristin? That stuff was NASTY! And what foods did Mazy really only eat? Mac ‘n cheese, hot dogs, pizza, jelly sandwiches, and strawberries as she got older. Bananas plugged her up. So did straight cheese, but I figured what’s wrong with pizza and mac ‘n cheese? Until I had to go to an appointment and report what she was eating. I was so ashamed. But my doctor said the most comforting words -” she will eventually eat more. Keep having her try things, but if that’s all she will eat, just go with it. It will get better.”
Out the door went my high expectations as a parent with making my own baby food, keeping her as healthy as I could, and trying to save money in the process. But then entered in a humble slap upside the head of one processed food item after another. It was going to be okay though. We were going to live. She was going to live. I realized I wasn’t failing as a parent because just maybe pizza wasn’t a salvation issue.
God opens his arms to all believers. Mediterranean diet eaters, fashion gurus, outdoor lovers, book readers, organic enthusiasts, and even those crazy bloggers. When Jesus came to fulfill the law, he did so because he wanted to release us all from the lens of others. To free us from the restrictions of cultural trends. (I mean think back to the Old Testament!) To free us to see each other through God’s eyes.
You and I are freed from the burden and expectations of others. If I am doing all I can to reflect His image, that is the best I can do. Other’s preferences and opinions should not dictate me. And in fact, I do not have to measure my success as a mom by what my child does and does not do.
Have you released yourself from the pressures, preferences, and opinions of culture? Of others? And equally as important, have you released OTHERS from your OWN pressures, preferences, and opinions of them?
Genesis 1:26-27 ~ God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 2So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Ephesians 2:10 ~ For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We all have the same mission in life: To love God and love people. How we do that will look different from each person’s set of lens. It’s okay. 99% of the time it’s not a salvation issue, even though we make it to be. So let’s see each other through the same lens God sees us:
IN HIS IMAGE.