Friday, January 16, 2015

The Hot Mom

Photo "Flames" Courtesy of Arztsamui/freedigitalphotos.net
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 
Revelations 3:15-16 ESV

I want to be the hot mom...

No, I don't mean "the attractive mom".  Nor do a I mean "the fit mom."  I mean, I want to be a hot mom, just like I want to be a hot Christian.  

I want to be radical, uncomfortable, hated, loved, convicted, elevated, rich, and poor
Revelations tells us that God does not love the lukewarm...the ones who accept Him and his Son when it's comfortable and trendy; the ones who acknowledges God, but don't pursue God, the ones who want God's presence when they feel alone and afraid, but who would rather He not show up when they are in a comfortable "worldly" place. 
I think the same can be said for parenting.
We see a lot of lukewarm parenting these days. 
I recall sitting at a restaurant in Wisconsin Dells one day; Evie and I been at Noah's Ark and were eating dinner before heading home.  While she and I waited for our food and played madlibs, I noticed that the family across from us were each in their own little worlds.  Dad was on a phone, Mom was on a phone and Junior was busy avoiding his food by laying down on the booth bench and staring at the ceiling.  Every once in a while, Mom would look up and say, "Finish eating," then she'd look back down at her phone. Junior would nibble a french fry and then lay back down.  They would alternate who would tell Junior to eat, and Junior would continue to nibble upon command without really ever enjoying the feast that sat before him
I really wanted to invite him to our table.
When I was a kid, we didn't have to fight electronic devices for our parent's attention.  I don't remember ever wondering if Dad was REALLY paying attention to me.  I don't remember my mom sitting in a chair and scrolling through Facebook while I tried to tell her about a project I had coming due.  
It wasn't until my own daughter developed a stutter in her speech that I really considered the effects of these portable devices on our children.   
When I started researching "stuttering," many of the tips to helping children reduce their stutter included giving them eye contact when they were speaking so they'd KNOW you were listening to them.
On his website, Chris Marlow lists some of the signs of Lukewarm Christianity. A couple of the ones I found most interesting include:
Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. Luke 18:11-12
Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love for others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is a little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, who kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 14:12-14
How do these descriptions relate to parenting?  Lukewarm parents gauge their parenting by comparing themselves to the world.  They feel satisfied that they may not be the MOST involved or active in their kids' lives, but they aren't abusing their kids; they are fed, clothed, and have lots of fun toys to play with and sports to play in.
But, is taking your kids to dinner and not paying any attention to them really "loving" them?  Did you pat yourself on the back because you had your kids in a sport every season this past year, and yet your kids may have wondered why you never wanted to just have a movie night or game night at home rather than drop them off somewhere and watch them play a game from up in the bleachers?
How about loving others more than loving yourself?  If you're scrolling through Facebook or Twitter while your daughter eats her dinner without hearing your voice, or seeing your eyes; are you loving her as much as you're loving your 900 friends (or distant acquaintances) on Facebook?  The answer is a painful NO!  And even if you justify it with, "Well, I was checking my work e-mail," or "I had an important article I was reading..." the fact of the matter is, you can't fool yourself or your child into believing that you're "in the moment" with her when your mind is somewhere else.

This past Christmas I decided that the "devices" stayed in a different room.  I could record my calories after dinner, I could follow up on e-mails after my daughter was in bed, and I could edit all the photos I took AFTER the festivities had ended. I was more "present" and engaged this holiday season than I have ever been.  The key to my success was that I had to be INTENTIONAL.  I had gotten too used to picking up the my phone and falling into Never-Never Land for me to keep the phone at my side.
One problem:  my phone is my camera.  So, I really didn't get very many pictures and missed taking the annual four generation photo we take with my grandma.
I'll work on remembering to take pictures another time...for right now, my main concern is becoming a Hot Mom...

Pray:  Dear Lord, it is so hard to shut out the world.  We forget about the wonderful gift you have given us in our family, in our children.  Help us to not be lukewarm Christians~send your spirit to light a fire in our hearts that burns brightest for you, and then for our children.  Help us to remember that this world will fade, and we should set our hearts and minds on the eternity that you have called us to with you in Heaven.  Amen.

~Tammie Hefty

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