4/15/14

Remembering the Progress

David asked God if he could be the one to build God's temple. Instead, God gave David a promise. He told David, in 2 Samuel 7, that a descendant of David’s would sit on the throne of Israel forever. David's response was...

"Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: 'Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? '" (2 Samuel 7:18)

 David did not see this as a disappointment, but rather, a way to reflect back on all of God's faithfulness.

Sometimes it is so hard to remember where we have been. Instead, we feel disappointed that we are not where we want to be.

I can be so hard on myself for...
Not praying enough.
Making a couple of bad food choices.
Still getting mad over the little things.
Not being a fast runner.
Forgetting that birthday.
Not calling someone.
Being a bad mother, wife, friend...etc.

We can also fail to remember the progress our children have made. We find ourselves so consumed by what skill we want our children to master next.

Many of us have said, "I can't wait until they can..."
sit up.
feed themselves.
walk, so I don't have to carry them.
tell me what they want.
make their own bed.
pick up their own toys.
play nice.
stop whining.
brush their teeth.
put away their dishes.
clean up after themselves.
help me with chores.
drive.

When we focus on the future, we lose sight of the present and the past. When it comes to progress, do we forget where they have been as well?

Not remembering the progress brings discontentment. Discontentment is such a dangerous thing. It can lead to fear, anxiety, anger, and resentment. 

Remembering brings joy.
Nothing steals joy like discontentment. When we remember the progress, we can restore joy. We can restore joy in the hearts of our children and ourselves. Our children need to hear us praise them for their progress, even if that progress is small. If they have mastered the art of sitting still, praise them! If they have mastered the art of getting dressed themselves, praise them! If they clean their room on their own, praise them!  Bring joy to your heart as well by remembering the small things.  I used to have such a bad attitude about certain chores.  My days seem to be filled with chores, but without my bad attitude.

Remembering brings motivation.
When we remember the progress, we can be motivated to keep going. With our children, it can motivate us to keep teaching.  You can click here to see a post about love and teaching.  We can focus on how far we have come with our healthy-eating plan, exercise, spiritual life, etc. We can remember how we used to not be able to say no to an unhealthy food, and now we can make the choice to have an apple. We can remember how a mile of running would have been our limit, and now we can run five miles! We can remember where reading our Bible was a once-a-week thing, now we are reading at least three to four times a week.

Remembering brings delight.
When we remember the progress, we can delight in the little moments. We can be thankful for the present. We can laugh at the silliness and marvel as they learn new things. I loved seeing my little boy get dressed on his own for the first time. His smile was priceless. I loved seeing my kindergartner recognize words on cracker boxes and billboards. I get a lot of enjoyment in seeing myself making good choices.

Say this:

Instead of focusing on________, I am remembering ________.

Instead of focusing on my five-year-old's lack of cleanliness, I am remembering that he can now bathe himself!
Instead of focusing on my three-year-old's tantrums, I am remembering that he can use the potty all the time now!
Instead of focusing on my 1-year-old's ability to make a mess, I am remembering that she can pick up toys as well!
Instead of focusing on my lack of faith, I am remembering all of the faithful moments.

Just this morning, I was able to praise my five-year-old for a his progress.  He usually throws a huge fit if he is interrupted during his playtime.  As he was coming down for breakfast he said, "I still have work to do (on his block tower).  But I can finish it later."  I was shocked!  I could have just ignored it, but instead, I praised him for such a great attitude!

What progress are you remembering - either with your children or yourself?



**Special Note**
The above photograph (and others like it) are from Johnson Photography WV.  She is a gifted photographer and her speciality is children! Check out her website at: