We were at a stand-off. My son and I.
His dog, taking advantage of an additional missing fence panel, lunged her 60+ pounds through the opening. Her shoulders were clearly sticking out of the fence.
We were in the car, ready to leave.
My son was torn, but he stood on principle. “Dad said she would be OK.” “Dad’s not here. The dog is almost out of the fence. Put another panel up. Now.” I said, standing on principle, too.
If we’d been shooting a scene for film, the iconic Western soundtrack, of two pistol-armed cowboys facing each other at high noon, would have punctuated our words.
His brother helped him move past the strict adherence to Dad’s last command by getting out of the car and stacking a ladder in front of the gap in the fence. That motivated him to get a panel and secure it with the ladder, as a temporary fix before we left. (Brothers have a way of “motivating” each other!)
I don’t like stand offs, but I didn’t want his dog to escape, and we return home to find the dog in Animal Control’s care. He doesn’t care for stand offs, either, but he wanted to be true to Dad’s word, and my departure deadline.
Both of us were right. But, this situation called for an adjustment.
Children and Teens with Big Spirits
One of the results of nurturing children’s spirits is that they have a strong will. This is actually a good thing. Parents, however, be advised: It is a challenge. But, it’s worth it.
My son stood on principle. He fought me in order to follow his dad’s instruction. If his dad had been there in that moment, he would have given different instructions because the dog had wiggled another panel loose. It was right for my son to use his nurtured spirit with his strong will to stand against anyone (me included) to follow his dad’s directive.
Yet, this particular time called for a flexibility and not a rigidity of “obeying Dad.”
This desire in our sons to stand strong, to not bend, to follow Dad’s word, which we have noted over the years of nurturing their spirits, indicates the God-GPS in their spirits to obey (and please) their Heavenly Father.
If you’ve nurtured your children’s spirits and they seem to be fighting you, remember this. It’s very likely they may be fighting for an important principle. The strategy is to get calm enough to not leave the situation on a bad note, even if that means leaving it for the moment. Ask the Father for clarity, and circle back to it when you both are calm enough to talk about where you’re coming from.
The Father needs children, teens and adults with big spirits and strong wills, who are willing to stand alone and who will fight, if necessary, to do what He has said to do.
The Holy Spirit scrolled through my mental files. Aha. Several “files” came up with me standing strong on principle of following what I thought the Father wanted (had said) when the “dog had wiggled another panel out of the fence.”
I understood that many of our strong adult disagreements over ideology or theology hinges on our being so committed personally to what the Father had said, or we thought He wanted.
It’s a rigidity in our mental processes.
That can be a good thing—but rigid strength needs to be melded with flexibility. In fact, we can see this with iron. When iron goes through the fire, its strength is tempered into steel, a metal more flexible than iron but even stronger.
Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as wind. Wind moves. Scripture says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit,” Galatians 5:25.
This calls for flexibility. Truth is eternal, but the Holy Spirit will give different applications according to the wisdom of the Father. We learn to walk with Him, which requires movement and flexibility on our part.
Father, thank You for Your eternal word, unconditional love, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Please grant me the ability to understand where my children are coming from, and nurture their spirits, wills, and principles for You. Grant me and my children peace, grace of understanding, strength to stand, and flexibility to move and adjust as You lead. Help us be the team You want us to be.
Father, please forgive me where I have stood against You or others, thinking I was standing on Your Word, when You really wanted me to move and flow. Grant greater grace to me and Your Body to work with You and not against You by standing strong when needs be and being adjustable by keeping in step with Your Spirit. Thank You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Crystal Wade, copyright 2016