I recently read an article about couples, and one of the men that was interviewed stated the thing he loved most about his significant other was that she didn’t try to change him.
WHAT? I paused after reading this. There was nothing about this man that she wanted to change? Wow, must be nice…
After thinking about it for a while, I already knew I had mistakenly spent a long time trying to mold my daughters into the perfect children that I wanted them to be. This enlightenment came after Kennedi hurt her knee, and I wrote a story about how it changed me for Guideposts magazine.
As I was working through the story with my editor, the deep and probing questions he asked me opened my eyes to how what I thought was helping them, was really hurting, and hindering them. I’ve been working hard to seek God and not my own personal desires about how to raise them ever since.
But husbands? For years I worked hard to try and change Kenny into the man of my dreams. But I was a complete failure because that reality only existed in my mind.
When someone posted something incredibly romantic on social media that their husband did, I would give mine the side eye, wondering why he couldn’t be so thoughtful. And the comparison trap when parents post the accolades, awards, grades, accomplishments of their children sometimes led me to wistfully wish my daughters could achieve the same.
And my Type A personality didn’t help at all. I had a checklist full of goals for my husband and daughters that I was working (rather hard) to check off, but unfortunately caused them to see me as a someone they would never be able to please.
The realization that my husband and daughters are my gifts from God and not my projects did not come easy to me, and thankfully my eyes were opened in time to deter me from mishandling them and impacting the purpose God created them for.
I’m finding freedom in acceptance. Not always agreeing but accepting, nonetheless.
But what I’ve come to realize over the years is that we are a unique family, and there is no other family in the world like ours. I am a partner in a one-of-a-kind marriage, and a co-parent to uniquely designed daughters. No one in this family is supposed to look like, act like, talk like, or be like anyone else on this earth.
I’ve never felt like God has ever compared me to anyone else. He has never made me feel worthless because I didn’t meet His expectations or failed in certain areas. So why did I have the audacity to walk around my household with my very own judging stick?
He brought Kenny and I together and blessed us with Kennedi and Kassadi. I was hand-picked by God to nurture and raise these girls just the way He created them. I wasn’t chosen so I could change what God put inside them, but to cultivate and develop every distinctive part of their personalities and temperaments.
Our identity as the Avent Family (or the A-Team as I like to call us), was comprised of our own unique identities. The only changes I needed to support was ensuring each of us found our identities in God.
And after I turned my focus inward, I found a pretty long list of things to work on. Even then, I still have to be careful not to be so critical of myself, and ensure I’m not comparing myself to anyone else. God didn’t create me to be a duplicate. He doesn’t need two people doing the exact same thing. I have my own special assignment to accomplish.
I’ve also learned not to measure my worth by the accomplishments of others – not the cleanliness of their house, not the politeness of their children, not the achievements of their spouse. We find our value in God, and we are always enough. And so are our family members. They are each enough. If there is one thing we’ve learned from 2020, it’s that life is precious and should not be taken for granted. Celebrate family, celebrate life, celebrate love. And celebrate being enough, just how you are.
As I thought back to that article, it didn’t say that she didn’t want to change him, but rather she didn’t try to change him. I guess she already knew that wasn’t her job. Smart lady.
Have you been struggling with feelings of dissatisfaction with your own life, or with some of your family members?
Are you caught in the comparison trap, and allowing it to steal the joy of how God uniquely created you, and/or your family?
Resolve today to live a life of acceptance. Accept those around you and receive God’s acceptance for yourself.
Link to Guideposts Story
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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