Yesterday was a day of constant difficulty with Ryan. There was nothing that would make him want to make a good choice. He came home from school with a poor report. From the moment that he walked in the door to the time I put him into bed, I was constantly disciplining. While we were at the store, I kept running into the same mother with her kids. She had one younger than Alex and one that looked to be about 8 or 9. I was rather glad to see her struggling with her oldest, too! That’s terrible, I know, but sometimes it’s nice to know that you’re not alone. On days like that, by the end of the day, I am completely exhausted and beat down. Typically, I would be very disheartened. But yesterday was different. I was exhausted and frustrated, but not beat down and not disheartened.
If this day had occurred two weeks ago, all my thoughts at the end of the day would have been about how bad a parent I am. Two weeks ago, I allowed Ryan’s behavior (and my inability to control it) to define me. It was part of my identity and when he had a bad day, I lost all confidence in myself. Last night was SO different! I had about ten minutes of weakness in which I sat at the computer, made a complaint to my Facebook friends, and pondered how we were going to face another day. Then I got up, turned on the praise music, and began to make Ryan’s lunch for today. No big deal, right? Wrong! I was not soaking in shame in response to a really, really bad day with Ryan! Instead I was praising the Lord for His goodness, mercy, and grace.
I have also discovered that though I still love gymnastics, I am not dreaming of it anymore. Since I was in third grade I have dreamed of having my own gym. As a child it was a dream of doing something that I loved with my life. I never really left that dream, but the motivation changed. For many years now, I have found my worth and confidence in gymnastics. Though I may not have been the best gymnast or coach, I have always known my place and my ability in the gym. Gymnastics is one of the few things that I had that most others didn’t. So I drew my strength and confidence from it. My identity was wrapped entirely in it. I recently learned that many, many people in my church had no idea that I was so involved in gymnastics. That greatly surprised me! Even more surprising is that in this time right now, I have no desire to have my own gym. I won’t be quitting coaching anytime soon, but my heart (right now) would be content even if I didn’t get to coach again. I’m not saying that the dream, love, and desire won’t be restored at some point. But for now, gymnastics is just something I do. It isn’t who I am. Anymore!
Why the change? It’s because my confidence is now properly placed. I know that I’m never going to be perfect until we reach Him in glory. More than that, I know that my identity lies in Christ, not the unrighteous and imperfect things that I’ve done. Yes we had a bad day, but that doesn’t mean that I’m a failure as a mom. I did my best with a sweet & loving, but difficult child. My identity is no longer wrapped up in the bad behavior of my imperfect child. It is not found in the good behavior of my imperfect child! It isn’t in my abilities and place as a gymnastics coach. My confidence and my identity lie in a great, glorious God who chose to die and be raised up so that I might have His righteousness!
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God
2 Corinthians 3:4
My sufficiency as a mom, as a wife, as a coach, as a friend is all from God. And it is through Christ, the only Son of God who chose to leave His position reigning at the right hand of the Father, in order to come as a baby to a lowly manger in a dirty, stinky stable. Wow!
So my confidence is no longer in me…
For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh
I am very thankful that God has freed me from shame!
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
1 John 2:28
And I now have full confidence in coming before Him — no matter what kind of day it has been. 🙂
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.