No runways ahead for me. God keeps reminding me of a different type of modeling. It hit me again when my aerobics instructor was joking about how we didn’t need her when she stopped doing the motions and we kept going. It was a familiar routine so we could last a few seconds without mimicking her moments before we started ramming into each other.
We need her on the stage modeling the motions for us. My body goes on autopilot doing whatever she does. Sometimes she’ll show the ‘low-impact’ version of a move. I love ‘high-impact’ but without even thinking, my body does what she does. She could stand on the stage and just give the commands, but it wouldn’t be the same. We need an example to follow.
This same lesson keeps coming to the forefront in other areas of my life – especially my parenting. I tell my children, “be kind, be patient, forgive” and a whole slew of other momma advice. My husband and I have been doing a study by Chip Ingram titled, “Effective Parenting in a Defective World.” In the book and videos, Chip points out that the single most important thing we can do in parenting is to model what we expect from our kids.
If we want them to read the Bible, we should read the Bible. If we desire cooperation, kindness, patience, etc. from them, we should model it for them in our own lives. It’s the old adage: “what you’re doing speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
Imagine my aerobics instructor doing a routine but telling us in the microphone to go in opposite directions or make different moves. Like if she was doing knee lifts but told us to grapevine. (You aerobics people know what I’m talking about!) Chaos would reign on the floor.
The same happens with my children. I had an epic fail with this last night. My husband and I crossed wires about where to meet at the end of the football game. It had gotten cold. I was tired. The kids were up late on a school night. I didn’t have my phone with me.
After waiting for a while – I got impatient, frustrated, and used my daughter’s friend’s phone to let him have it verbally. I was rude and unkind and
on display for my kids (and their friend) to see. Eventually, God’s Spirit lovingly reminded me of this whole “modeling” thing He has been teaching me. Ouch. I laid aside all my excuses for my behavior and apologized. Today is a new day to start with being the mom and Christ-follower I want to be.
When it comes to modeling I hope that:
My words clearly communicate what we value
My walk matches that talk
When I mess up, I own it and stop justifying my bad behavior
I ask forgiveness and start a new day attempting to model it better
So how about you? Any area God is bringing to mind with those God has placed in your life? Do your children, grandchildren, students, and friends see you living what you say you value? Cause I’m thinking our world has met its quota for hypocrites… let’s attempt to model what we say believe, and then admit and apologize when we mess up.
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute. She is the author of the First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree, Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, and Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible studies and Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home book.