How To Have Balanced Thinking

Single parents, we know you have so many balls in the air. In the chaos, your minds are often filled with jumbled thoughts too. Each of us has limited ability and time to meet the expectations placed on us. Living deliberately can elude us. Often our focus is on simply keeping our kids healthy and fed as our thoughts swirl with work issues, financial strain, and questions on just how we are going to get it all done.
This week we are talking about balanced thinking. We know how important our minds are in shaping how we feel, how we choose to live our lives, and how we parent. If we can be more balanced in our thinking, we can be better parents for our kids.
Three strategies to renew our minds and have more balanced thinking are:
Choose your battles. 
Let go of consuming thoughts. Give yourself permission to let some things go. You cannot give equal time to everything.
Right size your expectations. 
Remember, you are not two parents. You are only one. You are capable of only so much. Take the pressure off yourself!
Redefine success through God’s eyes. 
Realize that you are living for an Audience of One, our heavenly Father who loves us. Living through the lens of God’s acceptance and approval helps us redefine our priorities and choose what is most important instead of living according to the push and pull of what the world tells us.

Robert Beeson, founder of Solo Parent Society, and podcast co-host, Kim Mitchell both made it through the single parent journey, and they are passionate about passing on what they learned and offering hope to other solo parents. Marissa Lee, another single parent, joined the discussion on how to have balanced thinking.
Choose Your Battles
Our mindset and how we think is so important for our own sanity and for the health of our kids and choosing our battles is essential. We can’t tackle every problem, every issue, and every question that comes to our minds.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a loop, worried and stuck thinking about things we can’t change.
2nd Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.” When we find ourselves consumed with thinking that takes our focus off God and truth, we need to reroute our thinking, on purpose, intentionally. Instead of trying to fix a problem that has no solution, we need to focus on what we can do and let go of what we can’t.
Even within the realm of things we can do, we still must choose our battles. Sometimes we need to let go of things that seem pressing but that truly aren’t central to what God values. For example, getting the dishes done after dinner instead of sitting with your kids and making it a priority to connect with them. We don’t want to live in a pig pen but the funny thing about dishes is that they will still be there. We can make the choice to let go of certain tasks, even temporarily, to instead focus on higher priorities like investing in our kids.
To have balanced thinking, we can’t give equal weight to all the things running through our minds. We must stop and intentionally choose which things we will give both our thoughts and time to. We must leave room to be present for our kids. If we don’t, we are neglecting our most important priority.
Right-size Our Expectations
Second, we also need to reframe some of our thinking. As solo parents, we must right size our expectations. We are not two people. We must accept that we are not a “four hand family”! We are a “two-hand family”. We must stop holding ourselves accountable to a standard that doesn’t apply to our unique situation. We must adjust our thinking and expectations considering our current reality. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. This goes hand in hand with choosing which battles to fight and giving yourself permission to not have to be everything to everybody all the time.
Rightsizing our expectations is hard. We can be so used to doing things the way we did before we became a single parent that we forget that we have a new normal and with that comes new realities. We cannot live from a set of old expectations because, as solo parents, we no longer have the same resources. And, that’s okay! We can adjust our mindset and live our lives in a different way, a new way that fits our current circumstances, letting go of past expectations. We need to be careful not to set ourselves up against a false set of goals, accolades, or accomplishments.
Marissa shares a key truth she learned, “I had to learn to expect more from God than I expect from myself.” We aren’t God! We can’t do what He can do, and He doesn’t want us to or expect us to. He simply wants us to go to Him and ask Him to fill the gaps we can’t fill. And, we can do that, knowing that He will show up and come alongside us and our kids to do what we cannot. We don’t have to expect God-sized outcomes from anyone except Him. Our goal simply needs to be to remain present for our kids while letting God be God.
Redefine Success Through God’s Eyes
Third, we need to redefine success through God’s eyes. Our world continually feeds us lies, expectations, and measurements for success. But as single parents, we need to redefine what success looks like for us. Early on in her single parent journey, Marissa started to ask two very simple questions, Did everybody live through the day and did everybody eat? Boiling it down to these absolute essentials is a good place to start. It helps us remember that too often we have grandiose and unnecessary ideals of what success as a parent looks like, particularly when bombarded by worldly perspectives or families with two parents fully present.
Of course, the questions we ask and parameters for success will vary as we go through our single parent journey. But, there absolutely will be days when simply asking if we all made it through the day and had something to eat is enough! The principle here is to let God define what success looks like for you and for your family - not the world, or social media, or that one seemingly perfect neighbor you know. Let God be the one you look to for guidance, instruction, and acceptance. His way isn’t about performance or perfection. His way is all about our hearts.
Questions we can ask that align with His definition of success might be:
Have I shown my kids God today?
Have I demonstrated in my actions to my kids who God is?
Have I told them, out loud, where they’ve demonstrated God or where I see God at work in them and in their lives?
Am I recognizing God and keeping Him front and center in our family today?
These questions can help us redefine success through God’s eyes.
Balanced Thinking is Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes
Part of the journey of balanced thinking is seeing ourselves and our family through God’s eyes. We are quick to judge ourselves as failures when God is applauding us with each and every step we take toward Him. God wants our hearts and not our attempts to measure up. He loves and delights in us and in our kids. He just wants us to take the next step with Him while living in the freedom of His grace, seeking His heart and not the approval of others. When we do that, we allow Him to be our measure for “success”.

These approaches to balanced thinking are guides, and reminders of how to align our thinking with the truth of God. First, we need to choose our battles. Second, we must right size our expectations, and third, we need to redefine success through God’s eyes. Our minds are renewed as we actively take our thoughts captive and bring them into obedience with Christ. This renewal, as we live for an Audience of One, is how we can have more balanced thinking.

Single parents, as you seek balance in this new year, you are not alone. As you walk the journey of solo parenting, we want to offer encouragement and hope any way we can. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting Monday through Saturday every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single-parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.

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