The Subconscious Influence

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As a society our view of freedom is very skewed.  We want freedom to mean no one gets to tell me what to do or I do as I please but in actuality freedom simply means we have a choice.  We are free to make choices that shape our world daily.  Even with all this “freedom” we still feel trapped.  That is because our choices in freedom are usually attached to the expectations of “society”, our family, or our closest friends.  Our freedom is shackled from our ankles to the ankles of those we desire to spend time with.  We desire the freedom to be like others.  That lifestyle plays right into the entertainment industry.  We adapt our dress from the era, our vernacular, and our views.

As technology and “times” advance, the provocations are less than subtle as they once were.  There are hints of sex, sexuality, and other forms of vulgarity laced in music, television, and even cartoons.  Even shows deemed as “family shows” are sketchy.  Cartoons are created with messages that go over children’s heads gearing towards the intellect of adults.  My question is why is such humor needed in a show that is geared towards children.

I truly believe that even these hints of ideas plant seeds into our children.  As a selective parent I often feel stifled because there are so many limited newly introduced “kid” movies that I can safely allow my kids to see.  Even Disney movies have to be closely monitored these days.  Over the past year there have only been approximately 2 movies I have felt comfortable taking my children to see at the movies.  Even so when those shows are turned into series I sometimes have to restrict their view of them as well.

So often we deem TV and music as just entertainment; a skewed illusion.  However, both create a “moment”.   A moment is all it takes to arouse an emotion in our fleshly human nature.  A certain feel of the sun can evoke a moment/sensation/arousal that stirs up an urge in me to want to go shopping.  A moment in time, a thought, a memory can evoke in me the desire to go to a specific time in my past. A smell, a look, a “hurt”.   We are people of feelings and emotions and entertainment is meant to evoke a certain feeling or emotion. Often times we are unaware of our vulnerabilities that are stroked by these very instances of entertainment.

Our desire to be loved and belong lends quickly to conformation.  Our human nature is so inept to the core of our need for acceptance that we do not even notice the impressions these forms of art play into our lives.  We want so deeply to believe that we can control the influences the outside world has on us.  We want to believe we are stronger than the seeds that are planted in our minds.  But how can a plant grown into anything other than the seed that is nurtured in it’s roots? How can we grow into anything other than the “ideas” we feed ourselves on a daily basis.  If our bodies produce an outward appearance based on the food we eat, we can conclude that the same is true of our character.  It can only produce outward behaviors based on the elements (books, tv, music) we use to nurture it as well.

So while we are free to choose what we feed into our psych, we don’t necessarily get to choose how much influence that particular medium will hold on our thoughts.

Proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

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Stationary strides

My son is the sweetest person you’d ever want to meet. Oh my, he loves God and enjoys life! He makes straight A’s and readily says yes ma’am when a request is made of him, except to be neat and clean his room 😩. But if he’s so awesome why am I so readily irritated by him?
It must be something within me. How can this gentle guy erupt  such impatience and irritability in me? I can only conclude that the bible rings true that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). These feelings can only be something that is already embedded in my heart. But how does my heart become clouded with anger? How is it that I could miss these opportunities to enjoy life with a part of me?

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I suppose its because I am so busy. Since his todd years I have been juggling multiple jobs and school. It seems as though I’m always striving towards something else. And as I’m striving,  I am digging a deeper hole to be filled with more busyness. My busyness is often times non productive. The kids go off and do their thing….I go off to do mine…hubby does his and when we reconvene together the adults want to isolate to unwind and the kids want to engage in quality time. We are so busy striving that we push our kids away when they are just trying to live.  There are attempts to balance each aspect of the day and in turn I just end up feeling unappreciated.  But did the children ask me to be busy, to work the profession I work, to create the need to work more? Did God instruct me to do these things? Or is this some need and vision I have created for myself? Do I even have time to stop and inquire of the Lord if these are things according to his plan?

How can I cease to be busy and learn to be still? This appears to be the answer for everything but the first and obvious would be to spend time with the Lord. 

Use your time appropriately: While at work, work. While at home serve and enjoy your family. Make time to rest. Avoid the multi task dance where nothing gets done.  We spend countless hours recounting in our mind all the things “we need to do”, doing things we think “need to be done”, and making plans to “commit to more”.  What are we actually getting done?  And if we are spending all this time thinking and planning, why isn’t anything getting “done”?

Life is such a competition now.  We lack contentment in the privilege of living. Ahh! What glory in being able to wake up and breathe one more breath.  What joy in seeing the faces of our family and neighbors one more day.  The Lord has been so good to give us just one more….. If we could focus on the glory of ‘now’, everything would fall into it’s place.

Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

 

 

Childhood

Childhood is a time that is supposed to be comprised of innocence and adventure. A time of growth, lessons, and bonding. Childhood is where we are expected to learn the art of relationship maintenance and preservation and blossoming through our imperfections.  However this seems to be the childhood of old. The new age childhood is an age of material build up in an attempt to mask our imperfections and portray the ultimate fleek out image. An age of me first and immediate self gratification. We wonder where did the youth of today adopt this culture and it can only be from us, the parents of the age. I may not indulge my children in material masking or the technology savvy of the age but I can surely see how I’ve managed to model the immediacy and self gratification they display.

When I ask my children to do something or rather command that they do something, I expect it to be done immediately with absolutely no hesitation. You especially don’t want to appear as if you’re purposely dragging your feet even for one millisecond (sad disclaimer 😩). I know I know some may say well that’s to be expected. They should show respect. And although at times I can agree I am beginning to find that maybe that has more to do with my ego than parenting, guiding, and directing. I mean obviously they don’t want to comply with my request. Shouldn’t they get at least a millisecond or two to drag their feet if they are actually moving into the direction of compliance. Shouldn’t they be allowed time to cope with their emotions in that moment. And if I blow up because they aren’t complying right at that second aren’t I just re enforcing the immediate gratification principal?

How about when I ask my four year old to go get something for me…in my defense I couldn’t get it myself BC I had an 11 month old in water. But before I can even ask her to get it I’m jittering with impatience as she meticulously brushes her teeth before bed. 😂 she could not have taken more than about two minutes (the time it takes to so it correctly) but every stoke, every rinse and re brush felt like eternity as I waited for her to finish to request what I needed. As she scurried to find it I listens jitteryly to my son ask about a sore as I rushed him off to assist in locating this thing that I needed. In that instance I realized that expect demand immediacy from them. I constantly re-enforce to them that when I ask them to do something it has to be right then. There’s no room for adventures, questions, or reassurance. I model the opposite of what it is I’m trying to teach them. My actions are not lining up with my words. And so as many of us do, knowingly and unknowingly, I punish them for following my example.

Habits are difficult to break and often times we have to instead replace them with another behavior; so next time I find my child taking their time to comply with a request I silently say a prayer for them and me to improve in our areas of weakness.  What will you do to replace or break your habit of expecting immediacy? Post your response in the comments below.

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