Friday, January 8, 2016

Approved by God

What do you do when you are stuck in the house on a rainy holiday? Last week our family had the crazy idea to experiment with blue hair dye. By the end of the day everybody who was game, including me, had blue streaks or tips. That was when Toria, my eight-year-old, made the priceless request: "Mama, can you come to my class so that everyone can see your blue hair? When the kids see that my hair is like yours, they will think I am so cool!"

While I revel in knowing that my daughter would think of me as so cool that she would be considered cool by association, this statement also underlines her dependence on others' opinions. She is not alone in this. "Focus on the Family" published a survey in which school-aged children were asked what their greatest fear was. The majority feared, above all else, being viewed as uncool because of something they did, said, or wore.

I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give the children God has put into our care, is to teach them how they are viewed by God. 1 Thess. 2:4 states, "Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our heart."
The key here is to show our kids that they are approved by God. From my own experience I know that the more I understand God's approval, the less I struggle with desiring the praise of others, freeing me up to be who God wants me to be. Then I can seek to do God's will, rather than wasting my energy on worrying about how I are viewed by others.

Here are some practical ideas
1) Have fun together!
Knowing that you enjoy spending time with them plays a major role in helping your children understand God's approval. This will make them less prone to seek the acceptance of others. Be creative, with or without blue hair dye.

2) Worship God together!
The closer their relationship with God, the more they will understand his heart.
We love to turn up the worship music and dance around the kitchen together.
Each night after supper, we have a family devotion which includes reading a Bible story or devotional, praying for each other and also for needs outside the family, and ending together with the Lord's Prayer.
Throughout the day pray spontaneously for a need or thank God for his goodness. You will be surprised how even the youngest members of the family will quickly follow suit.

3) Pray over your kids!
Before they go to school, thank Jesus that he has promised to be with them and that these children are his treasured possession.

4) Write a Bible verse on their mirror!
It might help your daughter to understand God's heart, if she read Songs 4:7 while looking at herself in the mirror: "You are altogether beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you."
How about writing Judges 6:12 for your son: "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor"?

5) Encourage your child in things that matter to God!
Rather than focusing on looks and intellectual accomplishments, praise your child for their generosity, kindness, patience etc. Toria's note in her lunchbox today read, "Do you know what makes you so beautiful? That you love sharing with others!"

6) Help your child to focus on others!
On your way to a gathering, ask your child to seek out those who might be sitting by themselves. These people are probably in need of a hug or a kind word.