Monday, May 10, 2010

Guardrails

"Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding." Proverbs 4:7

I have been thinking a lot about wisdom lately. I have been participating in Beth Moore's Wising Up video study of Proverbs on Wednesday mornings. It has reminded me how very applicable the Bible is to everyday life. 

As a result of the great nuggets of truth I have been reminded of, I have been talking with my husband about how to start working through Proverbs with our children in an age-appropriate way. While many concepts might be beyond their years, I think it is never too early to lay down some basic foundational tracks. 

Recently one of my children was experiencing some challenges with another child they frequently encounter. The child was taunting my child with ugly/upsetting comments when other adults were not around. As I attempted to talk through how to handle a bully, I felt myself struggling with the potential conflict this might present with the primary message I preach to my children: Be loving and kind.

I realized that telling my 5 year old daughter to avoid a friend who is deliberately hurtful might be complicated. I was challenged to start thinking through issues in advance so that I might be firmly rooted and ready when some of the predictable ones arise. 

It also led me to contemplate some of my own relational decisions. I love the idea of being a follower who exudes both grace and truth, but practically speaking, I have felt some challenges to applying that concept 'in real life'--especially when it comes to friendships. For a couple of months I have been specifically reflecting on how to maintain healthy boundaries with people whose moral/religious compasses are not pointing them in the same direction as mine. I want to be loving and available for those who are struggling, but when someone is playing with fire as they dabble in sin, I want to keep a safe distance.

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20 NIV

I have felt very conflicted. My life experience has taught me that the best evangelism is often to share life with people in a meaningful way in order to 'earn the right to be heard.' And yet, it is undoubtably a very slippery slope. How do you hold out a lifeline for someone going over the edge of a cliff without getting pulled over yourself? The ONLY way is to be firmly and securely tethered to a rock.

Three weeks ago my husband and I were in Atlanta on a Sunday morning and were able to hear the second message in Andy Stanley's "Guardrails" series. It was amazing and completely relevant to this specific issue! I cannot recommend this series highly enough. Andy has set out to tackle some difficult life topics and how we can wisely assign ourselves some guardrails to avoid falling into sin. As I have listened to the first three messages I have found myself greatly encouraged. Go. Listen. Now.

This world is crazy, but when we spend time in the Word we are reminded that God has equipped us with what we need to make it through. Let's seek wisdom and the courage to do what we know we should!

6 comments:

Diane Tohline said...

We used two books that our children just adored and they were very helpful for many years. One was Proverbs and the other Promises. The illustrations are really funny. I have attached the link for the Proverbs book.

http://www.amazon.com/Proverbs-Kids-Book-Richard-Osborne/dp/0842349758

Tara said...

That is such a struggle for me as well. I have no answers, just lots of prayers about each situation.

Last year, we read through one chapter of Proverbs each morning over breakfast. I did have to "edit" a few things for my 7 and 5 year ols, but of the most part it was okay to read it straight through. I would also offer commentary of how that could apply to their daily lives. We plan to do this again next year.

Sarah said...

As the kids get older, you will have more exposure to the issue of friendships with the children. It is so tricky for sure...I always tell me children to be kind no matter what, but they do NOT have to be "friends" with everyone. I am actually very proud when I see some discernment on their part...when an invitation comes home to an extremely fun birthday party but my 6 year old declines because "so and so is not very nice", I know he is developing good judgment on who he wants to associate with.
It IS uncomfortable to talk about but it also is something we must teach our children...the older they get the stronger the implications are!

balmingilead said...

Funny you should write about this because I am trying to finish up a post about loving people - even in the midst of their heartbreaking sin. Not only that, but drawing the line between loving someone while not condoning their actions. It's tough, especially as we try to teach our children these things as well.
I love your thoughtful posts. I am always encouraged by your references to the WORD.

C Rogers said...

I would like to follow your blog, but I don't see a button.

JMom said...

Hi C-In the top left (on the blue bar) is the word follow. Click that. Thanks!

Diane- Thanks for the book recommendation!