Friday, March 16, 2012

Thoughts on Sobriety

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;  4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the work of God be not blasphemed.

Several years ago I read a book by Debi Pearl, Created to be His Helpmeet.  I had been praying for almost a year that God would show me clearly what he desired in a christian marriage and specifically how a christian wife should obey Him and act towards her husband.  God was so good to answer that prayer in the form of a wonderful women in my life that was a beautiful example of what a christian wife and mother look like.  He also put this book in my hands.  As I read through it my eyes were opened to just how important it was for me to obey this verse from Titus.
As I studied and meditated on this verse I was really provoked by the word sober.  I had a very worldly view of the word sober, applying it mostly to the idea of not drinking alcohol or being under the influence of alcohol.  As I looked at the definition of the word and though more on it I felt challenged to apply more of this trait in my life.
Sobermindedness:  Calmness; freedom from inordinate passions; habitual sobriety
Sobriety:  Seriousness; gravity without sadness or melancholy
Webster 1828  Dictionary
Once I had a clear idea of what sobriety was, I started asking God to give me a sober heart, especially in parenting.  It quickly became evident to me that there is a severe lack of sobriety in our culture today, specifically in marriage and parenting.  It didn't take me long to make the commitment to the Lord and myself that I would parent with a sober mind.  It is so easy to parent out of reaction and feeling, not considering seriously all situations.  After watching others blunder their way through parenting without much regard for sobriety I saw that I would need to work hard and focus to do things differently.  At the time I thought it would be a habit change that would become customary to me.  Now I realize that it is a challenge that I will have to continue to purpose.  Without a will and desire to consider this it becomes too easy to be swayed by a have it all, forget the consequences attitude in our culture.
One of the first sober-minded decisions the Lord lead me to make was that I would take care of my children and be their main influence.  One way I have chosen to accomplish this is that I do most everything I can with my children in tow.  If I cannot do my errands or appointments with the children I wait until after Pete is available to care for them.  We have babysitters on occasion and much help from our parents, but I try not to rely on the care of others if at all possible.  God has called me to be the caretaker of my children and I take this command seriously.  As nice as it is to get a break or have some "me time" I realize that if it means I am unloading my responsibility onto someone else their is a much bigger problem.  For me it means I have not managed my house to the extent that it is a place of peace and rest for not just my husband and children but for me as well.  There are seasons where there is less of this, still I must create the peace by managing my home and family well.
Another area that I continually find myself challenged to remain sober in is entertainment and language choices.  The darn that comes out of jr's mouth today becomes the damn it out of their mouth later.  I do not allow my children to speak slang or swearing even if it is what our culture would view as innocent.  What goes in the ears generally comes out the mouth so just this language decision has narrowed our entertainment options.  We do not want to emulate the slick tongued, provocotive adolescents in pop culture so we usually skip watching them and listening to them.  Amazingly this has been one of the easier decisions to enforce.  There are so many great options in books, movies and music that aren't vulgar that we find we have plenty to keep us entertained.  The harder part is to encourage the children to not let their ears embrace what the world says when we are in it.
One last area that I will share with you about sobriety is the stance on the time our children spend away from home.  God has been very good to give us the confidence to make decisions about sleep-overs, camps and time with other adults for our children.  We very rarely entrust these precious, innocent little ones to other people's care simply because we want to take seriously the threats that are in this fallen and unfortunetely wicked world.   I went to numerous camps and sleep-overs as a child and I turned out ok, however that will never be a good enough reason for us to jeapordize our children's safety.   We do not lightly take these sorts of events into consideration.  There have been a few sleep-overs the girls have done, but rarely.  No one has gone to overnight camp as of yet.  Each time one of these events comes up we pray and really seek God's wisdom in sending our children out of our care and into someone elses.  It doesn't matter how many other families choose to send their kids, what matters is that we know that we are doing the right thing before the Lord.  
Our children are only children for a short while.  If we are not careful with the time we have with them we could really make the rest of their life difficult.  I am at times tempted to quiet being the strict mom.  Once in a while I feel like I am over protective, but I am not sure when I address these concerns from a sober view that these thoughts are anything other that the world's influence.