Weary parents who are worn out from dealing with their troubled children lack something. Moms and dads whose kids suffer with mental illness but refuse help, who have a problem with alcohol and drugs, eating disorders and all forms of self harm, pornography, gender identity confusion, who are in and out of jail—have a need…a big one.
We keep saying yes when we want to say no to our teen or adult child’s demands. Why do we do this? Why do we keep denying our feelings? Why do we continue to give in when deep down we want to stand firm? What happened to our healthy boundaries?
We lack COURAGE.
That’s me. What about you?
A Better Source
We’re like Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. He had no courage. He ran from trouble with his tail between is legs. He had no backbone. If only we could go along with Dorothy to see the wonderful, powerful Wizard of Oz. He would reach down in the depths of his bag and find a medal of bravery to pin on our chests. Maybe that would give us the courage we need.
But wait! I’ve found another source.
A far better one.
The words of the Serenity Prayer remind me of this Source:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can . . .”
There it is.
God is the source.
He speaks to us and strengthens us through the Bible. He has encouraged me with this verse:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
He has the power to help us and promises to be with us, for he is: The Maker of heaven and earth, the King of the universe, the Creator of everything that exists (Psalm 146:6) who holds the power of life and death in his hands (1 Samuel 2:6), who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). The One for whom nothing is too hard (Jeremiah 32:17).
We need to ask almighty God for what we lack. He can give us the courage we need to change what we can.
In the past, I tried to change myself, but I discovered I couldn’t. We can all relate to how hard it is to start a new habit. Exercising or eating healthier; getting up earlier or going to bed earlier; watching less TV or going to church, reading the Bible and praying more are a few I’ve tackled. My feeble attempts weren’t very successful. Starting good habits can be difficult and it’s even harder to stop bad ones.
How Can We Find the Courage We Lack?
In difficult situations with our children, how can we find the courage we lack to do hard things, to change what we can, and to face situations we thought we never could? On our own, we can’t make those changes, can we? We’re not strong enough or brave enough. Our human efforts fail. Left to ourselves we’re too weak.
What can we do?
We can turn heavenward, to God our source, and ask for his divine help.
The Bible says: 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 (Ps. 121: 1-2 NIV).
Look up, dear friend. When you turn to God he will help you and maybe praying the following prayer will help you too.
Prayer: Dear God, please help me learn to say no when I need to. Help me accept that being courageous won’t be easy., but it will be even harder without your help. Saying no and keeping our boundaries can be downright scary. I worry and fret about what might happen, what kind of response I’ll get. Please make me strong and courageous. Help me overcome my fears. Help me develop tough skin so I can withstand any adverse reactions from my child(ren). Reveal to me why I need to please them, why I’m fearful and can’t trust you. Make me willing to face my deeper issues. I don’t want to be a doormat any longer. I want to be strong so I can say yes to a healthier life and no when it’s the more loving thing to do—for my child and for myself. Amen.
Recommended Book: Encouragement in the Waiting by Tami Winkelman