I have been struggling much lately with my emotions. Last night, during a bout of frustrating thoughts about my fight with my own emotions, I remembered I bought this book while visiting Chicago and put it away for summer reading. Now that work is over for me, I am able to start tackling my summer reading list. I retrieved the book from the pile and began to read. Three chapters into this book, and I am learning so much about emotions and why I sometimes allow my emotions to control me–and how unhealthy this is not just for me but also for those around me.
As I thought about the things I have read so far and the process of change, a conversation took place with someone I love that made me second guess if the difficulty of changing is really worth it. Let me explain.
For the last twenty-four years I have been a mom. Of course, I am still a mom just as my mom is still a mom even though I am quite old. The job has changed as I have moved from being a mom to infants, then to toddlers, preschoolers, elementary age, junior high years and high school. I am now a mom of young adults. That means, in essence, my job is done. At this point in the lives of my “kids” I no longer have much say in their lives. They make their own choices and decisions. I can offer advice–and I do, even when it is not necessarily wanted–but I cannot make any of them obey it. I understand even more clearly now the old adage that says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.”
As I thought about how long I have let my emotions drive me and the reasons behind that action, I realized how difficult it will be to change deeply ingrained patterns of thinking. Don’t misunderstand. I am not afraid of hard work. I chose to be a stay at home mom to four kids born in five years and homeschooled all four of them for a period of several years. That is hard work! What I wondered, though, is if it is worth it to try to change? I have raised these kids and have made more mistakes than I want to think about. Many of those mistakes were probably a result of allowing my emotions to control me. At times, I believe all of them have hated me and wished they had a different mom. I know that being on their own is something that a few have looked forward to a lot…so much that it hurts me some to think of how badly they want to get out of here. Of course, none will admit to this being the reason. And I understand that it is natural for young adults to want to be independent and live their own lives away from mom and dad. I felt that way too. I got married instead of moving out on my own but the driving factor was the same–independence from someone telling me what to do.
As I face a very near reality of being out of a job (as a mom), I know that I have caused damage to these kids that God gave to me. He entrusted them to me and I can’t help but feel as though I messed up more than I got right. Why change now? Who is to benefit? The interesting thing is, that only a few chapters of reading, I was able to see that even those thoughts are driven by my emotions. It is discouraging to read Dr. Stanley’s list of emotions and see that just about all of them are emotions that plague me. The task of controlling them seems insurmountable. It is daunting. It is frightening. It is not, though, impossible. I know that because God says that with Him, nothing is impossible.
I just wonder if the pain, the difficulty of the process, will be worth it. In other words, is it too late to impact the lives of these gifts God has given me?