Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sibling Rivalry & Perception Redefined ~ by Patricia Beal

We had a rough morning. 

When we moved from Texas to North Carolina, we had to leave behind a piece of our sectional. We tried so hard to get it to fit in the truck, but it didn't.

Now my son and my daughter fight for space on the remaining piece like backyard squirrels fighting for a spot on a feeder perch. Good grief

They are tiny. You can put four of them on that couch. But they must have their daily war. Today it got so bad that when I sat between them, my daughter said she wasn't going to eat breakfast and that she was going back to bed.

Say what? How about school? How about a little respect?

I was an only child and so was my husband. We never know what to make of all this fighting and bickering. But it's frustrating. Our perception is that we are the only ones who struggle with this and that what they do to each other and to us is completely bonkers.

But wait. What's perception anyway? Here are a few things that come up on

"The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression..."

That's all true. But let's think this through. The Bible says it's good to live by faith, not by sight. So I believe it's fair to say that for a Christian, facts should go through a God filter, a Bible filter, a truth filter, before deciding how to perceive an action or words or whatever is to be understood/interpreted.

Can we redefine perception then? How about we use our definition and take out the word "senses" and plug in something better? Let's see what happens...

Perception is:

"The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses truth of the Word of God: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression..."

I like that better.

After my daughter stormed upstairs, I told my son that I was tired, that I needed him to be more mature, that I had a couple of deadlines to meet, and that I needed peace and time to finish researching school curriculums (I will begin homeschooling him in October). I quoted scripture (blessed are the peacemakers) and sent him upstairs to get his sister to come down, eat, and get ready for school.

I didn't have a whole lot of faith in the approach, but didn't have the energy or the right spirit to deal with her myself.

Surprise, surprise! It worked!

Within five minutes he was getting ready for school, and she was on my lap saying she was sorry and asking what all she needed to have to get all food groups into her breakfast. Boom! I didn't move. I didn't get mad. I asked for help from a place of brokenness, and I quoted scripture.

I shouldn't be surprised when doing things the Bible way works miraculously. But I'm always surprised. O ye of little faith... Yep. That's me most of the time. I'm so thankful for fellow Christians who admit they feel the same way sometimes, many times.

So perception by sight was: What's wrong with these kids? How frustrating and disappointing and hopeless and helpless! What are we going to do?!

Perception by faith: Remember Cain and Abel. They are behaving as expected. We're not the only ones with kids who fight constantly. Fallen humanity. But the Word of God is good. God is good. Look how they responded to scripture. There's such power in it. God, help me remember this event and the resolution. Help me use your power more often—all the time.

How about you? What extreme thing (or not so extreme, I suppose) has happened to you lately that God's filter can heal? Did you fight with siblings like mad? Is there hope mine will like each other one day? Do share...

"Misery likes company" gets such a bad rep, but it shouldn't be so. It's not that misery likes company per se, it's that we don't want to feel like we were forgotten by God and suffer alone. That's what the enemy wants us to think. So it soothes my soul when I hear other people share their struggles and their brokenness. We're in this together, and God is good, and He never changes, and the world will pass away, but His words will not. He will not. We will not. Eternal. Together. Perspective.

Love y'all.

Patricia Beal writes contemporary Christian fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2017).

She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. Now, after a 10-year break in service, she is an Army editor. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.


  1. Thank you, dear Patricia. For a young Christian you have a lovely grasp of God's Word. You could say our 'senses'/'emotions' can get us into trouble every time. As for your sweet kiddos they'll grow out of that rivalry soon enough. I guarantee if any other kid bullied one of them they'd stand up for their sister/brother.
    As a writer myself, I loved your novel and I'm looking for more!

    1. Thank you for the kind and encouraging words and for reading the debut! Great to see you here :)

  2. I enjoyed this, Patricia, and I could relate! I had three of the little darlings and the amazing thing is they all turned into really lovely, mature adult Christians. (I survived too!) The results of last week's survey

    1. I'm so curious to see who they become! Happy to hear yours turned out great and that you made it :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. A great word, Patricia. And I love how you redefined perception. One of our many challenges is making sure our perception of God is based on His Word and not on ours or others limited thoughts. And as you point out knowing the Word is critical to this.

    What a delightful outcome between your son & daughter.