Your heart is your inner impression and response mechanism. It works in a two-way exchange of giving and receiving impressions. It first receives an impression, which in turn triggers a response. This inner response sends a signal that the people around you receive as an impression from you. You are communicating something even if you’re unaware in the moment.
A Sweet Response to Mommy’s Impression
I remember once when my children were in their bedroom down the hall working on their projects. I was at the kitchen table working on papers, when I (unawares even to myself) began to ever so gently sway to the quiet spiritual music coming from their room, and I got lost in my own thoughts of worship to God. I was quietly “brought back to myself” when my daughter noticed me as she emerged from the bedroom, saying that she’d turn up the music for me.
How did she know? My barely perceptible sway and far away look in my eyes was an impression I was giving off from my soul. My sweet daughter knew me and understood what I was doing, and thoughtfully received that impression as something to lovingly act upon for her mommy. It’s one of many fond memories of our hearts knit together in love and understanding.
These inner spiritual responses can be emotional feelings that are beyond the need for words. This exchange of actions within yourself can be picked up by the people around you as you express it in any number of ways through your spirit and body language.
A response was triggered in me to how the music was impressing me, and my daughter received the signal I sent—an impression, which triggered a response in her. This was a loving exchange, where no words were uttered.
What About When Your Children Form Negative Impressions from You?
Do you notice when someone’s mind wanders in the midst of your conversation? I do, and your children do too. They notice your distraction when they’re trying to tell you something. An occasional distraction is understood and accepted, but if your children’s impressions become chronic nuisances, it can certainly cause frustration to build and make them feel ignored.
What if you’re merely distracted once in a awhile for legitimate reasons? You don’t mean to ignore your children, but perhaps they are feeling ignored. How do you want them to respond to that? Children are receiving signals from you and forming assumptions about you based on those signals.
You need to be all the way present to them, sending the signal to them that what they have to say is important to you. When you can’t be all the way present then you need to help them understand why, so they can form the proper inner response to you.
What if the Signal You’re Sending Isn’t Loving?
What if the signal you’re sending isn’t loving? Do you notice when your spouse becomes agitated even if there is no body language to indicate a change? Your children do too. Are you influencing your children’s inner responses to the impressions they receive from you and their siblings? Your children are forming private, inward impressions all day long. They are also forming responses to those impressions. If you were actually fleshing out and your children know that, they may accurately judge your actions. But what about their response to your actions? What are they doing with it? How do you want them to respond?
It’s Not All About You—Practice Understanding
You and your children experience many goings on in your daily life—things you are doing, what others are doing and saying, and happenings that seem to be directed toward you that make you feel one way or another that actually may not have anything to do with you at all. You are receiving many impressions all day long. In turn, you are giving off inner responses to those impressions.
We all need to learn that everything that happens with other people is not all about us or our subjective feelings. Children need to know that their younger siblings who are still in training just as they are may not be able to exercise emotional self-control. Kids are fussy when they’re tired, and their emotional responses may have nothing to do with their siblings. Wisdom and understanding know that there are many reasons why people might do and say things, or why they seem to come across a certain way.
In Christ we are to grow in objectivity. That’s where true love and grace come in. That’s the place our prayers become more effective for the other person.
Instruct your kiddos to consider the possibility that what they are experiencing from another person might not have anything to do with them at all. Be careful not to be quick to make harmful assumptions. Potentially great relationships have been ruined from one party making harmful assumptions, making no effort to have true understanding. This is completely selfish and unloving behavior, and you don’t want your kiddos to grow up into the kind of a person who never truly has Christ’s heartbeat, but still claims to be a loving Christian. How many believers do you know like that?
Impress the Law of Love on Your Children’s Hearts
Deuteronomy 6:6 commands you as a parent to impressHis commandments of love] on your children’s hearts, to teach them diligently, get them inside of you and your children, and penetrate their hearts with His truth.
We are commanded to influence the impressions our children receive, and we should also be influencing the inner responses to those impressions. Children need instruction for how to respond to their fleshly self-centered reactions and the inner workings of their conscience where the Holy Spirit wants to speak to them.
You are to impress upon your children’s hearts the importance of having understanding and grace as they form inner responses to impressions they gather from other people. Teach them to be willing to be wrong about their take on impressions—to be wise, to be aware, to ask questions, to have discernment and keen insight, and to not assume that everything going on around them is about them. Be emotionally available to what your children go through. Are they becoming self-aware in the healthiest sense of that word?
How Your Impression Mechanism Was Influenced
How you were parented shaped the impressions you gathered for years, and you know how hampered your soul was to receive God’s love and to give His love. How much more then should you influence the impressions your precious children gather so they can prevent dangerous assumptions being formed about other people. They can practice forgiveness and loving understanding instead.
Dear Heart, Are you allowing God’s Holy Spirit to impress your inner responses with understanding and love? Let me know if you have thought about impressing your children’s inner responses like this.
In this series, we’ve been talking about 10 Functions of Your Relational Heartbeat. The functions are regular activities of the heart to be aware of so you can help your children be aware of theirs too. You will never be able to know everything and understand everything that goes on in your children’s hearts (and aren’t supposed to), but if you are getting into their hearts with loving understanding, then they will be able to receive the ongoing influence of the Holy Spirit too.
I changed a couple of the titles of the 10 Functions posts and the order of them, so I wanted you to have an updated PDF for your notebook. You can find it here.
Coming next week the 8th function of your relational heartbeat—Your Heart Is Your Emotional Center