Our FOCUS should be on our response to the problem rather than FIXATING on the problem itself.
I've thought about this statement often ever since.
And I've had to ask myself if I'm prone to fixating, even obsessing, over problems in my life rather than putting forth a determined effort to focus on the appropriate response.
I certainly am guilty of fixating on my kids problems rather than my response to them. Especially when they are at the challenging age of 4.
Cole has frequent "breakdown" moments when he can't do something...like take his shirt off, turn the water on, buckle his seatbelt, close the door, wash his hands, make his bed, etc.
He groans in frustration, flails his limp body to the floor, and usually starts crying ALL while telling me what he "can't do" at that given moment.
His focus is completely fixated on the problem, so much so, that he is crippled by it and unable to see past it toward a solution.
Even if I calmly and gently tell him how to respond in order to solve the problem, he resists the response and remains fixated on obsessing over the problem itself.
As a result, growth and maturity are stifled and he repeats this exact behavior the next time.
And to add fuel to the fire, I am guilty of fixating on this parenting problem rather than focusing on how God wants me to respond to Cole.
When I fixate on the problem my fleshly response is coated in anger and impatience and driven by thoughts like, "Uggghhh, this kid is exhausting and completely frustrating."
But on those occasions where I STOP fixating on the problem and START focusing on how God wants me to respond, love and grace AND wisdom drive my response.
As parents, our BEST response to parenting problems is to seek God's Word/Law for answers.
I was encouraged by a fellow believer recently to read through all 176 verses of Psalm 119 and to make a list of ALL THE BENEFITS of God's Word/Law.
Here are a few from that list that I find particularly encouraging when faced with parenting problems.
Counsels me (v.24)
Strengthens me (v. 28)
Comforts me (v.52)
Makes me Wise (v.98)
Give Light & Understanding (v.130)
Sustain me (v. 175)
His Word/Law are...
Trustworthy (v. 86)
Full of Knowledge & Good Judgment (v.66)
Boundless with NO limits (v.96)
A Lamp to my Feet & A Light to my Path (v.105)
Bottom Line...My focus for each parenting problem should be on my response rather than the problem itself. And there is no better way to focus on HOW to respond than to seek God's Word/Law for answers because its BENEFITS are rich.
Similarly, we must encourage our children to focus on their respone rather than fixating on the problem itself. And we must teach them the BENEFITS that God's Word/Law has for those whose response is to seek its pages for a solution.
And "May those who fear you rejoice when they see [my children and I], for [we] have put [our] hope in your word." Psalm 119:74
Join me today in prayer,
Father God, I pray you would reveal to my children the danger of fixating on their problems rather than focusing on how You want them to respond. With a problem at hand, I pray they would cling to the benefits of Your Word trusting it to be a light to their path, to give them understanding, to counsel & strengthen them, and to sustain them. And I pray that others would see them put their hope in Your word and rejoice!