Thursday, February 7, 2013

Something to Think On....

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Phillipians 4:8

My Mom's most often quoted bible verse.  As a teen I would shrug it off when she'd start reciting it to me, convinced that she just plain did not get it.  When I wanted to see a movie that she thought had questionable content, or listen to music with words and implications she wanted me to view through a lens of scripture.  When she wanted me to weigh decisions I was making, truly think them through before acting.  I'd stalk from the room with her words echoing in my ears.  Didn't she know that nothing cool was safe or holy, that cool things were fast and dangerous and shocking

Then one day I became a Mama, and that verse is now one of my favorites, a signpost in my parenting journey and a  lens for me to peek through into my own life, as well.  I've seen that, like so many things about the way we are called to live, it's not about what you are giving up, but what you are embracing.  This verse gives the freedom to bask in the good things in life, the beautiful, the pure and the praiseworthy.  It gives permission to eschew the violence and hurt and anger and choose something different.  Something better.

It has been a slow, step by step journey for me.  Over time, I began to choose differently in the entertainment I consume, the thoughts I let linger, the books I read.  And, over time, I stopped noticing the absence, the things I can't or won't do or watch, and instead have found more peace, more happiness, more joy and more loveliness.  Taking every thought captive doesn't make a captive out of you - it sets you free.

I've been told that this way of viewing life is a little too "Pollyanna," and have heard the cautions that, if raised this way, my children will experience culture shock as young adults. I don't see it that way.  I'd wager that a childhood free of ugliness and pain can only be a good thing, something that could yield sensitive and compassionate adults.  Something that grows people who are not desensitized to the hard things of this world  inspires them to make a positive change.

Maybe if we all embraced the good and lovely, our outlook would be similar. If we all focused our days and our lives on all things wonderful, our whole world could change for the better.

So when tempers flare and doors slam and I'm begged to just let them watch x or do z, I quote my Mom and hold up the same list of standards.  I print them out and stick them to the fridge in the center of our home.  I stand firm when I say no, and lead them to different choices, even when they are unpopular or counter culture.  Hopeful that, iny leading by example, just as I was innoculated by the faithfulness of my mother, my little ones will take it to heart someday, too.

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  1. Very interesting I'm in the midst of writing something similar. I think the constant focus in the media recently on 'fixing' society by way of gun control prompted my thoughts. I agree with all you said and I think it is so important to be present in ones actions, thoughts etc... and to encourage your children to be the same. xoxo

  2. "it's not about what you are giving up, but what you are embracing" - YES!!!!

    Beautiful post.

  3. Amen! This is one of my highest convictions. I am so glad you spoke to it so eloquently! Protecting our children from the moral decline in our culture CAN only produce positive results. Yes, adults who will be sensitive to that which is evil...which we are to shun. This is a great, GREAT post. I pray it will touch many, many mothers who are raising the next generation.

  4. Amen!! Thank you so much for this post! It was beautiful and so right on. Keeping our little ones from questionable content in media and all around us will definately raise up sensitve, loving, caring, Godly, empathic adults who will hopefully make a change for the better in our society. Thank you again for this wonderful post! Jill

  5. I just realized I spelled definitely wrong. I have a habit of doing that and realized it to late to correct it. That is terrible. :(

  6. Great post! What's wrong with a youth getting 'culture shock' anyway? Our young people SHOULD be shocked at the culture around them. I want my children to open a book one day and know if what they are reading is sinful, unlike myself as a teenager who was so desensitised I had no idea and consumed everything.


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