Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Freedom in Restriction

No one likes to be restricted. No one wants to be held back-pinned down-pushed away or in any way stopped from doing something they want to be doing.
The dictionary definition is:
2. The limitation or control of someone or something, or the state of being limited or restricted. 

My teenager lets me know he doesn't like restrictions by negotiating because he'd rather stay up late but still has a bedtime.
My 11 year old lets me know she doesn't like restrictions but pouting and crossing her arms when I cut her nails because they look like daggers.

My 8 year old lets me know she doesn't like restrictions by whining when she can't roam the neighborhood with other kids.
My 6  year old foster son lets me know he doesn't like ANY restrictions by peeing all over, but not in the toilet. His little way of gaining control over something in his life-due to his opinion of too many restrictions.
My 5 year old lets me know he doesn't like restrictions by lying on the floor and pretending he can't move because he didn't get his way in being the first one up the stairs.

My 2 year old lets me know she doesn't like restrictions by screaming, arching her back and doing whatever she can to resist being put in her car seat when she'd rather sit like a "big kid" in a regular seat belt.

As Mommy-I know that the restrictions we put on our children are for their good. For their protection. To teach them things, to help them grow, to show them the love of God and help them walk in his ways.

I frequently remind them that the rules we have established are good rules. Rules to keep them safe, help them be good friends to others, speak kind words to all, and please God by obeying his laws. I have told them, and truly believe, that it is only loving parents, who really care about their children's future, that invest time in developing and enforcing restrictions for their children's own good.

And yet...though I practice and believe these things...when the restrictions are on me...I sometimes 
have a little tantrum of my own!

"For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner mind I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7: 15, 21, 22, 24b, 25

It has been on my mind for quite some time that the computer is too much of a distraction for me. That I use it during the day to escape from the monotony of Mommyhood and that I am easily frustrated with my children if they interrupt me while I am working on it. And so, I tried to control this little problem myself. I would set times. 

"No going on the computer until after lunch" or "No turning on the computer until all the morning chores are done." or "No using the computer unless the baby is napping." etc. etc. These restrictions were always self-imposed and kept in my mind. Therefore-no accountability if I broke my own rules. So-guess what? I did. Every time.
Just like my kids. I bet they make up their own rules sometimes while trying to do what they know they should. But in the end, wind up doing what they know they shouldn't.  In order to really do what they know is right-I must limit their choices with restrictions.

I was not able to restrict my self and control my impulses to be on the computer more than I ought. So..I needed someone else to restrict me by taking away my options. My husband changed the passwords-like I asked him to. It does ruffle my feathers a bit that I have to "ask his permission" when he comes home to use the computer. I'll have to get over myself -because the truth is that yesterday and today-I enjoyed the feeling of
Freedom in Restriction!

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." Romans 6:22

My selfish impulses and distractions were a slavery of their own kind. Giving in to those desires and being distracted from being the best Mommy I can be, came with restrictions of a different sort. I was restricted from moments of joy with my children, from opportunities to teach them an important lesson, and more. when we are freed from sin and become a slave to Christ...I have a different type of restriction or slavery if you will.  But in this one-I found freedom. Freedom to stop thinking about...EMAILS-FACEBOOK-ETSY-BLOGS-etc. Freedom to not feel the need to run up the stairs and check those things way too many times per day. Freedom to just plop down on the floor with my little ones and spend my morning cup of tea time with them instead of this screen. 

It felt good. I liked it. It's a good restriction and I'm thankful that I stopped fighting with
myself about what I knew I needed to do. 

Soon, I'm going to sit down with my kids and share this example on their level. I want them to see that even adults have to follow rules and make wise choices-and not always to benefit just ourselves-but to do what's best for others.

In the meantime...I cut my daughter's nails against her foster son now has to clean both toilets under my supervision every day....we've started bribing the 2 year old with a gummy vitamin to coerce her into her car seat without having to pin her down...and I'm sure each new day will bring new ideas and fresh opportunities to share my new found love of freedom in restrictions!


PS...yeah-I the 2 year a gummy vitamin to avoid the tantrum doesn't really count as an example of a restriction...but for's at least a peaceful way to get 6 kids in the car in a timely manner without my neighbors thinking I'm killing her because she is screaming and fighting me so loudly!!! :)
PSS...This post is in NO WAY intended to produce any feelings of guilt or anything at all for those of you who are on the computer during the day. This is a testimony to my struggle and how God is working it out in me and I do not in any way propose that it is bad/wrong/sinful for Mommy's to use the computer during the day. Just for me...just for now...just because I wasn't using my time well enough. Hugs.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Shannon, and definitely something I seriously struggle with myself. Hugs back! :)