Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10

Okay, so I felt led to create a devotion discussing the strong-willed personality. You know these people, you’ve met them—busy, hard-charging, confident, leaders as adults; challenging, argumentative, boundary pushers as kids. If this isn’t you or anyone you know (or if you think all of us are crazy in which case I don’t blame you) then you have my permission to ignore this devotion.

I feel qualified to talk about this because I am a strong-willed person, married to a strong-willed person with at least one strong-willed child at home. And let’s focus on strong-willed children for a minute. Some of you might be saying ‘aren’t all kids strong-willed?’ The answer lies in how you define the term. All children will act defiantly at one time or another, but strong-willed children make it a daily activity. They can be extremely rigid, persistent and determined. Minor issues are a cause for argument just to see if they can win. They do not give you parental authority simply because you are bigger or older, you must earn it.

If you are a parent to one if these bundles of exasperation, then I feel for you and I am with you. To have your every decision challenged, to have every parenting mistake exploited is an exhausting thing. So this devotion is meant to encourage you to keep up the battle. As Dr. James Dobson put it in his book The New Strong-Willed Child, you must balance control with love. Swing too far to either side (domineering control or love with no boundaries) and not only will your relationship with your child suffer, but also your child’s relationship with God. Teaching the strong-willed child to bend their will to you—to humble themselves—gives them a critical example of how to humble themselves before a loving God.

No pressure, huh?

So harness your own strong will (or if you don’t have enough, borrow some from God) to be the confident, loving parent that your child can look up to and emulate. Keep at the fight as a holy warrior fighting for the future of your little one. Because these kids that so passionately do battle against us, are the same ones who will tirelessly work for the Lord when they grow up.

Dear Lord, give us a vision for the future of our strong-willed kids. You have great plans for them. We ask for Your help in guiding them, so they may give their strong will as an offering to You. In Jesus’s name, amen.


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