learning new patterns…

I’ll admit that I’ve been seeing a counselor over the past few months.  Life felt overwhelming, and I needed to talk about it.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might remember me saying in this post how I probably should have seen a counselor as a teenager about having diabetes.  Now I’m sure of it.  I’m amazed at some of the things that came out during counseling with regard to having a chronic disease – here now 25 years after being diagnosed.

One of the things we talked about was the fact that when it comes to dealing with my diabetes, if I don’t do the right thing (take my insulin, check my blood sugar levels, eat (mostly) right, get regular physicals) I would die.  The more things I do right, the longer I live.  There’s a direct relationship there.  Wrong actions = death.  Right actions = life.

I’ve realized that I’ve applied this thinking to just about everything in my life.  My counselor says I’m an “awfulist”.  In other words my thinking pattern is that if I don’t do everything right, then the most awful outcome I can think of will happen.

I now recognize that I’ve subconsciously been thinking about my parenting like this.  Let me give you some examples…

If I blow up at my kids… they’ll end up as adults with serious anger problems and feel like I never loved them.  (They’ll also hate me and we won’t have any kind of relationship.)

If I’m not consistent with doing devotions with my kids… they’ll end up rejecting Jesus.

If I don’t keep the house clean… they’ll end up being slobs forever.  🙂

If my kids see me sin… they’ll think it’s ok and start down a wrong path.

All this over-analyzing, the super-high expectations I have of myself, the resulting guilt, and the fear of the future outcomes is exhausting.  It’s also self-defeating.  It makes me feel overwhelmed.  And it makes me feel hopeless… because no matter how hard I try, I can’t be a perfect parent.

But I’m starting to see it’s all not true.  My mind might automatically follow these patterns because of a diagnosis and because of my history… but it doesn’t mean it should.  I’m leaving no room for God’s grace in my life.  I’m not really in control of the future – He is.  I am responsible to follow Him to the best of my ability, and ask for His forgiveness when I fail. 

So I’m not sure how to change my thinking patterns.  But I think just realizing that it’s happening is a start.  Beyond that, I am seeking God’s help and his grace.  And I’m seeking to trust Him for the future.

Romans 12:2  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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2 thoughts on “learning new patterns…

  1. My first thought, upon reading the first sentence, was, STEPH!!!! There’s no shame in going to counseling! I think I know more people who go or have gone than haven’t.

    Good for you for taking care of your brain and your soul.

  2. Pingback: God’s Word for me… « Ledbytheshepherd's weblog

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