Empty Nest Moms

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT ASSUMING!

Before considering your loved one’s intentions towards you to be good, do you often find yourself assuming the worst? 

There is a saying I once heard (I’m sure you’ve heard it too)…

When you ass.u.me, you make an ass out of you and an ass out of me!

Just sayin’, I’ve certainly done that a time or two (or a thousand) in my lifetime!  I have been guilty of interpreting something one of my children (children-in-law, spouse, friend, etc.) has said or done as intentionally negative toward me, only to find out that I misread their true intent!  Perhaps they were innocently joking around, and I took them to be serious.  I may have misinterpreted the meaning of a text and, therefore, assumed that their message was meant to be rude.  They may have been busy and failed to respond to a call or text in what I believed to be a timely manner, and I interpreted it as rejection.  

We base our wrong assumptions towards another individual from our perspectives: what we think, how we’d respond, what we feel, and our behavior. 

COMMUNICATION DEVIL

I firmly believe that there is a communication devil whose sole purpose is to interfere with our lives causing miscommunications and faulty assumptions.  He twists words around so that they are misconstrued by the hearer causing offense and anger within a relationship.  He’s adept at shining a negative light on a situation or conversation where the intent was innocent on behalf of the communicator.  Until we are wise to his devices, we will often view our relationships, as well as our world, through his defective lenses.

My husband and I have experienced many opportunities to fall under this demonic influence.  It happens something like this:  Joe (my husband) may be in the midst of trying to explain something to me, and I receive a text.  Of course, I look at the text (I’m a woman and, therefore, can look at a text and listen to him at the same time, right?).  Joe accuses me of not paying attention to him and becomes angry.  I try to assure him that I can do two things at one time.  The atmosphere in the room goes from warm and friendly to cold and hostile in a New York second.  My intention wasn’t to upset my husband, but he certainly took it that way.  His faulty assumption was that I wasn’t interested in what he had to say to me and, therefore, I was rude and disrespectful.

I have had similar instances occur with my children.  My daughter and I might be out shopping and having a wonderful day.  I say something in a light-hearted manner.  It’s completely innocent and carries no ulterior motive on my part.  She, on the other hand, thinks I’m being rude or making fun of her.  The air becomes frosty.  That stinkin’ communication devil has weaseled his way into the midst of our communications once again.

I’ve also been the one to receive his well-crafted lies.  Even as I write this blog, I remember that I have a very dear friend that, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve assumed to be upset with me.  Have I contacted her to clear up any matters of confusion?  No!  Do you know why?  The enemy is so good at making the lie appear to be so real that I didn’t see the need to approach her about the matter.  I simply believed the enemy’s spoon-fed lie that she is upset with me.

No one is exempt.  We must be on guard to his schemes.  He comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  He revels in seeing relationships reduced to rubble.

DON’T GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A TWIST!

I find that we humans can be so easily offended if we are not careful.  As a child, when I’d get upset, my mom would tell me, “Don’t get your knickers in a twist!”

The Bible warns us in James 1:19:

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Mommas, we need to guard against becoming incensed when we perceive that someone’s intentions toward us were purposely meant to be hurtful.

When we instantly assume that someone’s comments or actions toward us are antagonistic, we tend to enter into a fight or flight mode (it’s a natural tendency of our human nature).  The pride in our heart insists that we defend ourselves.  But God calls us to, “Step away from the anger button!”

It’s in these moments that we need to take a deep breath, be slow to speak and pray for a heart to respond in love rather than anger.  We want the benefit of the doubt when the shoe is on the other foot, and we’re the one who’s innocent intentions are mistaken to be unloving.  Therefore, we need to allow grace to others, assume their intentions are pure and think before we speak or fly off the handle.

DON’T ALLOW THE ENEMY A FOOTHOLD!

We need to be extremely cautious that we do not allow the enemy a foothold in our relationships with our children (or anyone for that matter).  If you give him an inch, he’ll gladly take a mile.  It takes a mere crack in the door for him to waltz in and bring devastation into our relationships with those we cherish.

Satan will plant a seed thought in your mind and, if you are not quick to yank that sucker up, it will grow into an ugly, unwanted tree with roots that become more difficult to pull up as time elapses.  His lies sound something like this:

“Did you hear what he said?  He was being rude and disrespectful to you.  You need to put him in his place.  How dare he talk to you like that!”

“She’s not answering your phone calls or your texts.  She must be mad at you because you wouldn’t babysit for her.”

We are warned to be wise to the enemy’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  If we are aware that he wants to destroy our relationship with our children, shouldn’t we be on constant guard against his schemes?

If we perceive that our innocently spoken words or actions have been misinterpreted, we need to go to the offended party and apologize.  I don’t allow any grass to grow under my feet when I feel that I’m the cause of a breach between myself and my children.  I’ve seen the damage that occurs when I wait for them to come to me first.  When we allow days, weeks or even hours to go by without moving toward reconciliation, we give Satan a huge foothold.

WHAT IF WE ALWAYS ASSUME THE BEST?

What if we instead always assume that the intentions of others toward us are meant to be kind and pure?  Our lives would be sweeter, and our relationships would be stronger.  Peace would rule and reign instead of turmoil and dissension and, like the lyrics of the old song,[i] “what a wonderful world this would be.”

I know that my husband and children love me and, more times than not, intend to bless me rather than upset me or make me angry.  Therefore, I should always assume that I’m the one with faulty vision and listening to the wrong voice (that stinkin’ communication demon), instead of automatically thinking that they intentionally mean to hurt my feelings.

These principles work in all of our relationships.  We need to think the best of others.  We need to carefully examine what we see and hear from them through the filter of grace and love.  Often, we judge out of past experiences and hurts that have nothing to do with the one standing before us.  We wrongfully take on the thought pattern that if others have hurt us in the past, then the one before us means to hurt us too.  However, in most instances, this is not the case.

We need to seek healing from our past hurts and freedom from wrong mindsets.  Let’s be the one who believes and assumes the best in every person (1 Corinthians 13:7 AMP).

Feel free to email me and share with me some of your trials, lessons learned, and the experiences you’ve had as your children have left the nest so that I can share it on my blog and others can learn from your journey.

Leave a comment, and please…share with friends that, along with us, need strength for the journey!

[i] What A Wonderful World by Sam Cooke

Connect with Cindy at Sftjm7@yahoo.com

Cindy Schroppel is an author, blogger and speaker.

For more information about Cindy Schroppel or to order Skandalon visit Sftjm.com

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