A couple of days ago I posted a blog about Re-parenting, and explained what it is.  From working with my clients and through my own experience, I realized just how difficult it is to understand the concept and grab hold of it for yourself.  It makes such a huge difference in life, and it’s such a powerful tool that I wanted to make sure it was well understood.  Therefore, I decided to share my own journey – at least a tiny part of it – with you.

Remember the story of how Jesus talked to Nichodemus in John 3:1-21 about being born again? Well, if one must be born again of the Spirit into the Kingdom of God, does it not stand to reason that one must be parented again within that kingdom?  The Scriptures call it renewing your mind, and re-parenting is part of that process in a very particular way.

When children are born they learn about themselves, God, life, and the world around them through spoken and unspoken messages received from parents, grandparents, siblings and other care-givers along the way to adulthood.  Some of these messages reflect the truth of God about that child . . . others don’t.  However, the child is unable to distinguish the truth from the lie.  The ones that reflect God’s view of the child build good self esteem and security.  The child then grows up to face the world with confidence feeling that he is valuable and worthy of respect, able to learn and unafraid to tackle new experiences.

Ones that reflect a false view of the child also build self esteem, but it’s poor, weak self esteem and insecurity which hinders healthy growth and development until the lie is removed and replaced with truth.  Children who grow into adulthood with these false messages are fearful, doubting their self-worth, struggling through life and always arguing with the internalized voices in their head telling them they can’t quite make the grade.  They’re just not quite enough to succeed or be truly loved by someone good.  They have problems choosing a mate and wonder why the ‘life of living well’ seems just outside their reach.  They’re convinced that their ship might come in one day, maybe, but that if it does, it will have a hole in it and sink just offshore!  Good things just don’t happen to people like them, they haven’t worked hard enough, they aren’t smart enough, talented enough, perceptive enough . . . the list is endless, the internalized voice of the Critical Parent says.

One example from my own story  helps illustrate the way this can happen.  I was a very quiet child, very observant, who grew up with a father whose temper had a hair-trigger and I watched him blow up with one of my brothers especially.  Daddy loved us, but he was not child-friendly!  I was terrified of making a mistake and triggering his anger and punishment.  The result was that I grew up fearful . . . fearful of trying new things, of people, of asking questions, of loud noises, of being left out, of not being enough . . . you name it, I was afraid of it.   And although I fought against those fears and bluffed my way through life, I struggled with the unspoken messages that life and relationships are dangerous.  That is, until Jesus became real to me and I learned the truth, that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

That is the voice of the Good Parent, the Parent who knows us and loves us and has given His Son and His Spirit to save and guide us.  The Good Parent voice at times convicts us of wrong-doing, but it never condemns us, or accuses us.   That condemning voice is the voice of the Critical Parent who spoke through our parents, teachers and other caregivers their messages of contempt, criticism, fearfulness and despair of ever succeeding in life.

The child, however, is unable to discern or analyze the messages coming to him.  He takes them all in indiscriminately and they become part of his identity – who he is.

The process of Re-parenting, therefore, is the process of identifying the lie about us, renouncing it in the name of Jesus, of taking the truth, then, and affirming it to ourselves as many times as it takes to become an automatic reaction and response to life situations.  When the temptation comes to react in fear, we catch ourselves, and speak to ourselves the words of the Good Parent voice, saying,

My Father has not given me a spirit of fear, therefore I will not accept one from anyone or anything.  My Father has given me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Therefore, I am able to face this challenge with clarity, love for myself and others, faith in God, courage, and confidence in myself.

Each time we do that, we become stronger in who we really are in the One who loved us and gave Himself for us.  We become more of who He created us to be.  And we become more effective in salting and lighting the world around us.

And that, in a nutshell, is one small example of Re-parenting.  There are many others which I’ll be sharing along the way as we travel this road together of Re-parenting ourselves and parenting those entrusted to us.  God bless you on this journey of American Christian Parenting!  (And remind me to explain what we mean by American Christian and why it’s so important!!)


, , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply