This has been a busy and emotional week for me–two marriages in trouble with people whom I love and want to support, a friend’s husband ready for hospice care with a funeral to plan (she knows I’ve planned a funeral), and a mom and dad who want to help their recovering addict mature to independence (I’ve been there too).
Sometimes life gets hard and relationships and situations can derail our hopes and dreams.
We can get stuck in the quagmire not knowing which step to take. It’s like standing in the middle of a forest where you can’t see the way out. And we can get so bogged down with which way to turn that we just do the same thing over and over as if we are spinning on a gerbil wheel.
We go nowhere.
I’ve been reading a book by Michael Hyatt, Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals. And as I’m reading it (know that I’m only in Chapter 4), I keep thinking about the places where we get stuck emotionally in our relationships.
What if we had a different strategy to become unstuck?
Hyatt classifies people into two categories, scarcity thinkers and abundance thinkers (pg. 37-39) as he talks about those who fulfill their dreams and those who don’t. Imagine if we had the perspective of abundance thinking in our relationships with those we love? What if we were able to look at life through the lens of possibility?
- We’d be thankful rather than fearful.
- We’d be more compassionate.
- We’d assume that the people around us can learn and grow to a more mature way of thinking.
- Our default would be set to openness and trust rather than suspicion.
- We would be optimistic about the future of our relationship rather than pessimistic that things will never change.
- We would see the conflict we encounter in the relationship as opportunities rather than obstacles.
Another thing Hyatt talks about is how we limit our beliefs about the people we love. We can begin to think our husbands will always respond in a negative way, or the recovering addict will never overcome the addiction, or that out teens will never grow to healthy maturity. These thoughts are what he calls “half-truths at best”. Our thinking becomes a roadblock in our relationships.
These limiting beliefs impact our behavior as we interact with the people we love the most. It’s how we see the world.
What if we shifted our thinking to that of an abundance thinker?
Trust me when I say that I fully understand the thinking of a parent who wants her teen to mature in different areas. We think we can guilt them into making changes, or nag them over and over, or maybe we go the opposite direction and just overlook it. And when we run into the same situations time and time again, it is easy to be pessimistic and think they will never grow up or change.
That’s where I encourage parents to figure out what is lacking in their kid and in the relationship. What can you as a parent do to potentially turn it around?
We have the power to shape the future for our kids or our marriage if we are willing to put a plan in place with steps where we are working toward the goal we so desire. Many have found that we have to set a different course, respond differently to the situation, and develop a strategy that will get us to the end we so desire.
And it won’t always be easy.
But don’t you want to see the success of your marriage or the future for your kids?
My husband is currently mentoring a young man barely out of his teens. This individual is struggling, yet he’ll call my husband to talk. My husband has told this recovering addict that he will do three things: 1) tell him he loves him, 2) tell him how proud of him he is, and 3) acknowledge to him what he is good at and encourage him to grow in that area. Then they talk about his strategy to get there.
This kid seems to be staying on the path. He’s making progress. As of now, he is working toward a year of being clean. And they celebrate the milestones over lunch.
As parents we need to help our kids figure out what their hopes and dreams are and then help set them on a path to reach it. We need to help them identify their strengths so they can grow and mature. And we can put together a strategy to help them get there.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Dare you to check to see if your new strategy is full of love and encouragement toward growth.
“Let go…and Let God”,
Helping our kids grow to a healthy maturity means we look at parenting through a lens of abundance. After all, isn’t that what God gives us–abundant life?