amy patton

dance monkey, dance

amy patton
dance monkey, dance

This whole having daughters gig ain’t no joke. Mine got here pissed off and wanted you to know about it. They are as fiery as they are lovely, cranky as they are precious and about as much drama as a Real Housewives episode. Then there is the whole “they look/act/appear like you” but they aren’t you. They are their own creature with their own brand of special.  My girl child has just turned 7 and we have had a rough few months. Talking with other moms, it appears I am not alone. One conversation with a dear friend reminded me why all this parenting business is so hard.

We teach and instruct and direct and push them to do their very best in all the things. We celebrate their successes. We invest so much in the “wins” and trophy moments of their lives. We want them to strive for excellence in every area of their lives and know how to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Which is fabulous until somewhere along the way, we find our precious angels crying in a heap on the floor because they are so ding dang afraid to fail.

The performance trap. It is a lie from the enemy that we can do good enough to earn the favor/blessings/gifts of God. It tells us we must do it all perfectly and never let ‘em see us sweat. I know it well. Having grown up in a denomination where your behavior mattered more than the condition of your heart, I spent many years on that hamster wheel. And now it is easy to recognize in others. So what do we do when we find ourselves or our little people in the trap? We go back to the truth. The only thing strong enough to break through a lie is the truth.

The antidote to the performance trap is identity. As a believer, our identity is that we are a child of God. Period. We are not defined by our failures OR our successes. We are not what we do, where we live or how much we weigh. All those things may be the details ABOUT us, but they are not us. Psalm 139:13 says:

“For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

It does not say “…and you will be this zip code, or that dress size.”

For us to find peace in who we were created to be, all else must be stripped away. All the bells and whistles of our outer selves have to end up in a heap on the floor while we stand naked in our authentic self. No crutches to lean on. No alter ego to fall back in. No place to hide. Our beauty, our career, our personality, our relationships or lack thereof do not define us. All of those externals are part of our story, but they are not part of our identity. We must fully own our singular heritage as a daughter of the King.

Then we MUST teach our precious mini me’s that who they are is so grounded in the truth of their Creator, nothing can be added and nothing taken away. Taking them off the hamster wheel and setting their feet on the solid ground of acceptance is the greatest gift we can give our daughters and the biggest game changer in their legacy. These future wives, mothers, leaders and world changers hold so much power in their precious little hands. Let us equip them run their race with the full confidence of who they were created to be and make an impact on those they meet along the way.

This sounds like a huge task because it is, but we tackle this the same way I tackle a red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese frosting: one bite at a time. One day at a time. One opportunity at a time. One tear-filled, holy meltdown at a time. Let’s pick them up, dust them off, and then straighten their crown while we remind them who they are. And when they skip off to make a friendship bracelet or play a soccer game, let’s look in the mirror and give ourselves the same love.