I feel the “disease” plaguing me at times. The hover-mother syndrome. It’s when I hover over my kids just to make sure they follow all the “shoulds.” I hover so they don’t get too wild or too disobedient or too…well…out of my control.
God has patiently been working on me, slowly breaking my control-freakishness. Because it isn’t freedom for anyone — this hover syndrome.
So when I sense the thing flaring up, I purposefully try to remember a few key things He’s taught me.
1. Train up, not control.
The Bible never says, “Fathers and mothers, control your children.” These kids aren’t mine to control. Really, nothing is mine to control. My calling is to train them up in the Lord.
Just like I said the other day, we set rules and teach God’s “law” but not because the laws will change their souls. Or even control them. God’s law is there to reveal our sin and desperation for a Savior. (Romans 7:7)
So I imperfectly teach them His ways throughout our day and then discipline (inconsistently at times) when they fail. But not because I think the laws will heal them. I have to trust Him to pierce and transform their hearts. He does the soul-work.
Train up, not control. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
2. Take three steps back and stop talking.
Sometimes He speaks very literally with me. “Step back and close your sweet little mouth,” He says. Well, sometimes He’s more stern.
When I feel the need to hover I often have to physically step away and close my mouth, remembering point number one and then doing point number three. (Proverbs 13:3; Psalm 141:3)
3. Pray. It’s your fierce weapon in the battle for their souls.
True, I can’t control them. It isn’t my job as the parent. But I can stand in the gap. Because of Jesus’ blood over me, I can enter into the courts of my God and intercede for my kids.
But I don’t pray out of fear. At least not as often as I used to. I’m learning to pray with bold declaration of His promises. “You, Lord, love them more than I could ever love them. Work Your good will into their lives. Give them a love for Your statutes. I trust You.” (Matthew 6:7-13; Romans 8:38-39)
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
We can live free from that inner control-freak. Jesus died to set us free. But we need Him to open our eyes to when we grasp for the reigns of life. Then through His empowering we release people and situations to Him. We step back and close our mouths. And we pray fervently.
Fill me, Lord…
What or who do you find yourself hovering over in efforts to control?
How can we release those things and people to God?