"Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." Joshua 1:8
my son is entering the teenage years. Sometimes the things he does leave me flummoxed (verb: to bewilder, confound, confuse). It has really been becoming clear to me that I have no idea how to deal with a teenage boy. What to do?
As a stay at home mom I really want to make what I do in the home meaningful, consistent and welcoming. With my ADD sanguine personality, I can't even tell you how almost impossible this is for me. How do I keep from getting overwhelmed?
I love food. The taste, the processes of cooking and baking, the smells, the textures. All of it. And it shows in my dress size and fitness level. Why can't I control my eating and lose weight?
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Please someone say yes!
To help me with these issues, I got books. I purchased "Got Teens?" by Jill Savage and Pam Farrell, "The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized" by Karen Ehman, "The House That Cleans Itself" by Mindy Starns Clark, "Reshaping It All" by Candace Cameron Bure, and "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst.
And I read blogs. Lots and lots of blogs!
Now, let me first tell you that I loved each and every one of these books. If I didn't, I wouldn't have listed them, much less linked them. They are packed full of encouragement, plans, lists, to-dos, to-dont's, booty-kicking and Scriptures. They are good books.
But they are not the Good Book.
As a Jesus-lovin' girl, I know and I mean know that the Bible is truth. It is strength, it is direction, it is encouragement.
And sadly, it is usually the last self-help book I grab when I have something I need to work through.
All the instruction I will ever need is right there. Every topic, every struggle covered and conquered right there in the pages of a love letter just for me.
I think I tend to turn to books written by people because i want to re-affirm to myself that i am not the only one who is or has gone through this. And if they did it, then I want their tips and tricks to get me through too. And this is good.
But it shouldn't be our first step. This should be around step four in our journey.
If you are like me, then the first two are ones that generally get skipped.
Step One: Pray about it. Go to God first before anyone else. Speak it all out to him. The good, the bad, the things you feel are impossible. Tell Him everything, then sit still and listen. sometimes you will have to be still for a long time. Longer than you want. Keep waiting.
Step Two: Open your Bible. Make it your go-to book for everything. The best advice will always be right from the Word of God.
Struggling with eating? Try doing a word study of food; Self-control. Providing. Sufficiency. Satisfied.
Lost trying to be a good, godly parent? Try looking up the words children, lead, discipline, teach, guide, LOVE.
Sometimes the Scripture will apply to your situation, sometimes it won't. But you will be reading from the true source of knowledge. You will be placing a lot of Scripture in your mind and in your heart without a middle-man sharing their impressions and learnings. It will be you and God, walking together.
Step Three: Apply what you learned. This is the hard part. Not only in being willing to do what you have learned, but in figuring out how to practically apply it. Sometimes after I have learned something from Scripture, I feel like I completely understand and am ready to follow through on the why, but the how seems cloudy. This is the time to go for help. If you can't see ways to make the changes you learned, then ask a friend, find a group, buy some books.
Step Four: Get Help. Godly counsel from friends, family and outside sources is the best way to change your path. Once you know what you need to do, getting help doing it is not only wise, it can make it fun!
Parenting a teen has days, weeks, even seasons when it seems like fun has died, but it hasn't! Get together with a friend who is where you are now, and a friend who has already blazed a path and can stand up the road cheering you on.
Get accountability for being a homemaker by getting together with another homemaker. Have your own accountability group. Do a Bible study together that is on a home-centered topic or read a book and have a micro book club to encourage each other.
Develop a group to help you lose weight. My friend has a group that named themselves the Dirty Skirt Girls. They are Jesus-loving health freaks. They work out together, do walks and runs together, train together, cook together, and carry each other through major illnesses and struggles, all the time keeping each other on a healthy path. If I didn't live six hours away I would totally be in her group!
There are thousands of good books written by Christians that are bible-based and will truly help and guide you through just about any and every struggle that you will face in your life.
But don't just settle for good.
Go to God first. Get His best for you before anything else. Step by step, in order, one at a time. And you will prosper and be successful in all you do.