“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:32 (NIV)
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
This popular ditty lived on a magnet on our refrigerator for years. At first, I liked the message because it affirmed the positive influence I have in our family. But over time, it began to weigh me down. Was I really in charge of everybody’s moods? Yikes! What an exhausting responsibility! And what a guilt-producing message for a mom who already had a tendency to accept responsibility for all sorts of things she’s not responsible for.
I learned in a parenting class that when I accept responsibilities that aren’t mine — when I assume it’s up to me to find lost shoes or be sure my children all have their stuff before they go out the door in the morning — I keep others from accepting theirs. And if I’m responsible for keeping my children happy, they won’t learn that their choice of mood is up to them.
By the same logic, my mood is my responsibility, and I need to deal with it. Maybe the words on that magnet need to be changed to something like, “If Mama ain’t happy, she might need a time-out.” So far, nobody’s asked me to edit refrigerator magnet messages. I guess that’s not my responsibility.
Father, help me to learn what I’m responsible for and what I’m not, which is a truth that will set me free. —Carol Kuykendall
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