Are you a weary parent? Are you drained? Depleted? Worn out from dealing with your child’s rebelliousness, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorder, forms of self-injury like cutting and burning, pornography, mental illness, sexual identity issues and continuous arrests? If you’re like me, you lack something. Because of this you keep saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” to your child’s requests for help – more money, more of this and more of that.
Why do we do this? Why do we keep denying our feelings? Why do we continue to give in when inside we want to stand firm and say no? What happened to us? Where did our healthy boundaries go?
What do we lack? COURAGE. Been there. Done that. How about you? We’re just like Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. Remember him? He was afraid of everything, including his own shadow. He had no courage, no verve – vigor, spirit or enthusiasm to stand up for himself in frightening situations. If only we could go along with Dorothy and her companions on the yellow brick road to see the wonderful, powerful Wizard of Oz. Maybe he would dig down deep in his black, velvet bag and pull out a medal of bravery for us, too. That’s exactly what we need. But wait – I’ve found another source. A much better one.
The Serenity Prayer tells me what this Source is:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
There it is. God, our Higher Power, is the source. I don’t know about you, but I need Him to give me the courage I lack – courage to change what I can. I sure can’t change my child. I can only change me. And boy is that hard. When I’ve tried to change myself in the past I’ve discovered I can’t do it very well on my own. On my own I’m not strong enough.
Oh God, we need your help. Make us courageous to say “no” when we need to. Help us accept that it won’t be easy. At times it will be downright scary. Things might even get worse. Our child will experience pain. It will probably evoke a negative response from them, maybe a loud, unpleasant one. Help us overcome our fears. Help us develop tough skin to withstand adverse reactions. We want to be strong so we can say “yes” to a healthier life and “no” when it’s truly the more loving thing to do – for both our child and ourselves.
These two Bible verses give me a dose of courage:
“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 121: 1-2)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
With God’s help you can be courageous. Print out the Serenity Prayer and use it daily. What a wonderful resource it is.