Can you see past my actions to my motives? Can you quiet your emotions long enough to see my pain? I haven’t lived as long as you and my worldview isn’t the same as yours so what I’m saying doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it does. These are often the unvoiced thoughts of our teens.
How often as parents are we quick to reprimand a look, a tone or a word? “Don’t talk to me that way!” or, “Change that face this instant!” But, somehow in our effort to parent Godly, we are missing the mark.
Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.”
Paul David Tripp in Age of Opportunity says, “This is what we must be committed to our relationships. When selfishness, individualism, and demandingness creates conflict, strife, and tension in our homes, we must thank God for the opportunity to deal with something that he has said is second in importance only to our relationship to him. If we are truly thankful, we will not opt for quick, surface solutions, but we will work to uncover the issues of the heart that are the real reason for the conflict. (p.64)
It’s so much easier to not go there. It takes work to hear past the offensive words and see our teens hearts. That means putting aside offended emotions and choosing to dig deeper, even if that means not finishing whatever I was doing. These kinds of conversations aren’t ones that we can plan for and schedule. They come while life is happening and often it’s a challenge to set aside our wishes and desires for the moment.
It means making my teen a priority. That, my friends, is hard! Especially when often you don’t see the immediate fruits of your efforts. Sometimes, you uncover a golden nugget of opportunity to breathe life and truth into your teens – which is awesome! But, other times there is nothing more than a grunt and glow from their phone. Don’t be discouraged in these moments. You have obeyed God and He will honor that. Now is the time to take a breath and pray they have heard you even when they act like they haven’t.
Help me not be so tangled up in myself and my plans that I don’t truly hear my teens. Help me to remember to dig deeper and not just worry about correcting surface problems. I need your wisdom and strength to not live in the flesh when I am offended. Help me to live in your grace and extend it to those around me. Thank you that you see my heart and are a good and just judge. Thank you for loving my teens more than I do and for drawing them to you. Help me to be a blessing in their lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”