Nancy Turner from Moody Radio asked if I would put my outline from today's discussion on Joyful Parenting up here. Please ignore the weird formatting... bizarre things happen when one cuts and pastes from Word into Blogger.
A. What is Joyful Parenting?
a. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It is something we are to cultivate and its presence in our lives is indicative of the Holy Spirit living in us.
b. Parenting, in my experience, serves as a spiritual discipline for cultivating the fruits of the Spirit
c. Joy and happiness are not the same thing
B. A joy filled home
a. We often treat others, whom we don’t live with, better than those whom we do
i. Example: Unhappy mother who immediately changes her tone when she answers the phone
b. Like it or not, as mothers we are often the ones who are responsible for setting the tone of our household
i. Are you smiling?
1. I know I find that unless I’m consciously thinking about it, I don’t smile. I wouldn’t want to live with someone who never smiled, why should I make my children?
ii. Are you having fun?
1. Schedule in fun if it doesn’t come naturally to you
2. Be unexpected
a. Did someone spill milk? Start singing the “Everyone Makes Mistakes” song and move on
b. Suddenly put on some music and dance around the house with your children
c. Guaranteed laugh from your children? Without warning, shout out the word “underwear!” at the dinner table
3. Don’t take yourself (or life) too seriously
a. Seriousness overinflates ones sense of importance and we’re not really in charge
b. God’s in charge, He’s got it covered, and we know how the story ends… we can relax and let go a bit
c. If you make a mistake, go ahead and laugh about it
C. Practice thankfulness
a. Discontent, the opposite of thankfulness, is a joy killer… be aware of discontent in your life and actively battle it
i. Complaining about your circumstances is actually criticism of God
ii. Joy can only be given by God and not by our circumstance or possessions
b. It is something that needs to be practiced
i. Counter cultural
ii. Not a natural response
iii. Is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened with repetition
c. Rejoicing texts
i. Well over 100 references to the word ‘rejoice’ in the Bible and it is often phrased as a command of something we are to do
ii. We are to rejoice always and in all circumstances
d. Play Pollyanna’s Glad Game
D. Have a long view
a. How having two nearly raised children has impacted how I view my two toddlers
i. It goes so fast
ii. It’s why older adults always stop young, often frazzled, mothers in the store to tell them to appreciate every moment
1. There will be a time when you look back and would give anything to have your grown children little again… even if those moments were the ones you didn’t particularly enjoy the first time around
iii. It’s not always easy, but I am better at changing my focus
1. I still don’t like exploding diapers or whining two year olds and it still makes me annoyed or impatient, but I have become better at realizing this is for a moment and appreciating what I have
2. Just because you don’t enjoy something doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate it – having children to care for and the physical ability to do so – not everyone has been so blessed
E. It’s not about you!
a. It’s about God and how He has worked and is working in your life
b. He wants us to turn to Him
i. My recent practice has been to try to turn any frustration, concern, worry, bit of anger, etc. over to God as soon as I find myself focusing on it
1. Consequently, I’m turning stuff over to Him all day long
ii. Just like thankfulness, this awareness to not stew in our own juice, but instead let God take care of it takes repetitive practice
c. Contributes to our joy because we are no longer responsible or in charge, God is!
d. Our testimony is enlarged because we are allowing God to work in our lives