“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
By: Kerri Young
On Monday I shared how my oldest son taught me at the beginning of the summer (and probably at least several times a week since then with the same type of situation) that I don’t always like or joyfully receive God’s timetable or plans for me. Today I want to share another example of how the Holy Spirit used my daughter to teach me a lesson about obedience and God’s purpose played out in my daily life.
One day last week I was attempting to make dinner during the “witching hour”. You know, that hour of the day when everyone is exhausted and ready for the cavalry to come home to the rescue. My littlest man was crying and scratching at me to pick him up, my two older ones were whining because I wouldn’t let them watch another episode of “Yo Gabba Gabba” on Netflix, and I was just trying to get the ingredients to make our dinner out of the refrigerator without knocking the crying little man over. (Getting things out of the fridge and placing them on a counter on the opposite side of the kitchen becomes an Olympic sport when a one-year-old is standing up and clinging to the back of your legs with his scratchy, razor-sharp fingernails for dear life.)
In a moment of sweetness, Big Sis came walking into the kitchen and said, “Mom, can I help you with something?” For about three seconds I heard angels singing and thought, “Wow! We’ve arrived! She is showing empathy and wants to help!!!” But when I responded with, “Yes, you can help me…. Please take little man into the living room, find some toys, and play with him while I try to get dinner ready”, the needle scratched on the record. (For all you young ones out there who never owned a record player, that means my moment of joy quickly evaporated.)
“But, I don’t want to do that. I want to help you get dinner ready!” I heard my pouting, almost seven-year-old whine. With all the compassion and grace I could muster as my sweet baby was screaming and digging his talons into my knee pits (what are those called, anyway?) I uttered, “The best thing you can do to help me make dinner right now is entertain your baby brother, please.”
Her reply? “I don’t want to help you do that!” as she stomped off without my little dude, who was still scratching patterns on the back of my legs. Watching her huff into the other room angry at me for not letting her help me the way she wanted to help me, I had another one of those moments—seems like they happen to me quite frequently—when God uses my children as a mirror for my heart. Seems like if I’m honest with myself I have been saying the exact same thing to God in my heart about something He is asking me to do instead of letting me do what I want to do. Ughh!
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
I think I know exactly how I can help God the most and use my gifts for His glory. It’s all well-intentioned and I come up with great plans to make things happen, sometimes totally ignoring what God is clearly asking me to do because I just don’t think it will have as big of an impact or be nearly as important as what I want to do. Yes, I’m kind of (prideful) that way. But God shakes His head and says, “No, not that. This is what I have for you and I want to use you to be a great blessing if you will let me. My plan is best and will bring ME the most glory, so stop trying to do your own thing and listen to what I have asked of you.”
Is there something you’ve been fighting with God about doing and He keeps saying no? Are you looking for something more glamorous or, perhaps, less glamorous but God is telling you what He’s asking is for your good and His glory? Maybe there is something God has been asking you to do lately that you just don’t have any desire to do? Is He asking you to reach out to a neighbor who is unlovable? Maybe He wants you to volunteer for something that is beyond your comfort zone?
When you examine your heart, do you find you have reacted like me and like my kids… with frustration and defiance? If so, I want to encourage you today. Just like I lovingly encouraged my son to focus on emptying the plates and not the silverware the next day (and the next day….), and just like I gleefully picked up my littlest man, made silly noises, and spun him around to make him and Big Sis laugh while carrying him to her in the other room, God will not give up on you and He will give you all the tools you need to obey. Ask Him how He wants you to “help” Him. Tell Him you want to be about His business today and ask Him for the strength and the humility to yield to whatever that may be. I promise sweet freedom from surrender and obedience will eventually take over any frustrations you might have, and you might just find that what He wants you to “help” with is actually worth smiling about and leads you to the foot of His throne. =)