Who Are You Trying to Change?

Ever hear of a “move-in ready” house?
They say you can move in without changing anything.
Maybe I’m not the normal person, but every house that I’ve looked at, I would change at least one thing.
If it’s not the color of this room, it’s the design of that one. I even consider taking out a wall to make it bigger. 
I need lots of light and gentle colors that soothe, add pops of color for that focal point.
That “move-in ready” house has already undergone so many changes in my mind before we even have it as ours to change!

As women, we’re good at that. That’s what making a house a home is all about. 
We change the structure of the house to fit our family’s needs so it becomes ours.

But sometimes we do that with people.
Not sometimes, too many times.
We love our husband just the way they are when we marry.
But soon after marriage we wish he would do this…
Or if only he would be like….
Why can’t he pick up his shoes? Why does he grind his teeth? Why can’t he help more around the house? 

We do that with our children, too. 
Some of it, we can call discipline.
Because what we don’t like is their old nature rearing its ugly head.
And we should as Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child."

Other times it is not their sin nature.
We just know better.
We know this behavior will not make friends or will cause them problems.
We gently steer them to alter how they respond.
“Please” and “thank you” should be said often, especially at home.
But it’s more than manners. 

It’s those irritating habits that annoy us! 
Like those shoes left at the door that I trip over.
It’s not for somebody else that I want them to change. 
It’s for me!

Because we are good at being annoyed, we think it’s our job to make them change.
And with discipline some of those things must change.
But some of those character features we will not change.
We, as moms, must guard not to be Holy Spirits for our husband and children.
It is not our job to tell them everything they do wrong.

I don’t like to give illustrations using my husband. 
My job is to make him look good. Not tear him down and show the world all his weaknesses.
But sometimes I get on a “why can’t he do this?” campaign. 
I feel sorry for myself because I have to bear this grievance that he does. 
I obsess over that one little fault that bugs me.
Soon, nothing he does is right.

Instead of extending grace, I’ve become his judge, jury and jailer.
Does that help me love him more?
You know the answer!

I do that with my children too.
I’ve noticed especially when they become teenagers that discipline is not so easy. 
A simple spanking doesn’t work. 
That flaw that causes everyone to avoid them is not so easy to change.
Pointing out their problem only makes them defensive.

Let me tell you a secret that every mom needs to know:
Your children won’t leave your house perfect.

Adam and Eve had God as their “parent.”
They still choose poorly.
Nor will you make our children perfect.

Teenagers struggle with their own attitudes.
Coupled with vacillating hormones, and peer pressure, often they don’t even like themselves.
The last thing they need is for their one true supporter (you, their mom) to correct them for chewing their cereal too loudly! 
They already feel overwhelmed.

No begging, bartering, bashing, or badgering by you, the mom, will change them.
Dr. Dobson, a family counsellor, often said, “Just get them through adolescence.”

So do you say nothing about their irritating behavior and let it seethe inside of you?

That’s where prayer helps.
Tell God  those flaws and irritations.
Those concerns for their future, how they relate to others and what they choose—all are given to God.

Know what I find when I do that?
By telling God, He reveals to me His grace in their life.

God does a work in their heart.
He changes them. 
Those changes aren’t what I would have done—outward corrections with an obligation with strings attached so I would like them better.
Those changes reflect an inward life that is directed toward Him.

Sometimes those changes take longer than I would like.
Because those changes last. 
That means, even when I’m not looking, those heart changes will still be there.
They won’t be there to impress and please me.
I won’t have to say a thing.

Of course, those changes won’t come immediately. 
But those little steps reflect changed attitudes that line all hearts to sing His praise.
Isn’t that what He’s doing inside me, too?

Because I’ve allowed God (a paradox in itself—isn’t God in charge?) to change the people in my life,
I no longer feel the pressure that they must change for me—so I can love, or even like them.
I am no longer annoyed by their “flaws.” 
I can look beyond what irritates me to see what God is doing in their life and appreciate their strengths. 
And praise God.

Know what that focus does?
It frees me.
I can love them without feeling the responsibility to correct them.

Maybe they aren’t listening to what God is telling them.
(Then they certainly wouldn’t change for you.)
Maybe they continue to do those annoying things—even when you've told them it bothers you.
Maybe God wants you to praise Him anyway.
Maybe God is working on what makes you irritating to Him.

Who am I trying to change?
When I see the grace of God, I praise Him.
I don’t need to change others.
And He changes me to be more like Him.

Displaying all 2 comments

I needed this article! I don't have teenagers...but I do struggle with this even with youngerish ones.

I love your line, "Maybe God is working on what makes you irritating to Him." I've never thought of it in quite that way, but it is a perspective to help us be more patient with others. One of Debi Pearl's comments in her book was that our "attitude" will always come out, just as the Bible says, what comes out of the mouth is from the heart. When I am irritated with "everything," I know it's not others nor the situation, it's me. So enjoy your articles and I'm trying to keep up on them now that things have slowed down some. Thanks for sharing, it always blesses me.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Find more articles about faith here:
What an Amazing God We Serve
Response to Healthy Gaming
How Miserable Are You? Are You Happy?
The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Reminders of What's Important
God's Unmeasurable Love
A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
What Were You Thinking?
Who Are You Watching?
Boundaries for a Better Life
God's Boundaries
Memories of a Hero Mom
The Ripple Effect
How Do We Think Like Jesus
Litany of a Waiting Woman
Ever Cook a Frog?
New Year's Reminders
They Galled Her Gammy
When God Speaks
A Russian Christmas Story
Be Thankful
Be Grateful
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Laughter—Why Laugh?
Are You Disturbed?
Unity of the Brothers
Encouragements To Declutter
Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Too Much Stress
Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
Are You Scatterbrained?
How Good Are You?
Looking for Something Good To Read?
A Cup of Cold Water
I Will Trust When I Cannot See
Encouragement—What Is It?
Being in God's Presence
"Einstein and the Professor"
When God Is Silent
Do You Crave Beauty?
Using Stories to Discipline
The Danger of the Wrong Story
Using Stories to Teach Lessons
God is in charge of the future
November Dare Joy Challenge
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Looking for Jesus
What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Life's Little Pleasures
Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Take Every Thought
Jars of Clay
What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Too Busy for God's Word?
How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Reflections from a Mom
Pain—What's It Good For?
Why Marry?
Consider the Robin
One Life Who Made a Difference
What Day Are You Living In?
Interrupted by God
Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
Are You Beat Up?
What's Your Hurry?
Are You a Manipulator?
Are You Salty?
Are You Condemned?
Trying to Understand?
Do You Expect Answers to Your Prayers?
Do You Eat Your Stress?
Need Focus?
Going through Trouble?
Immanuel—God with Us
Looking for a Relationship?
When God Says, "No!"
What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
How Great Is Your God?
Are You Needy?
How Do You See Sin?
What Do Your Words Mean?
Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Those Aha Moments
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

Receive weekly articles by giving your email address below: