So there we were in the second row, when my 3 3/4 yr. old daughter, Marina, decided to cop an attitude with me. I don't remember what it was about. I just know that during the sermon, she started pouting and loudly telling me "no" about something. Right in front of Pastor Kim.
That didn't go over so well with me.
I made sure she understood that if she didn't quite down we were out of there. She made more noise, and I moved her to the aisle, picked her up and made my way to the back of the church.
She started to put up a fight, kicking her legs (imagine me holding her facing away from me, sitting as if my arms were a seat... then her arching her back and kicking at the same time....)
Then she realized that everyone in the church could see her.
Because. we. were. in. the. front.
She stopped fighting me and I started hearing her stifling her cries.
By the time we were near the back row, she had clapped both hands over her mouth to keep her crying "inside."
As soon as we got out the doors of the sanctuary, she stopped stifling the cries, and let loose.... all the way back to the library.
There we had some privacy for some discipline. A short talk, then we walked back into the sanctuary. Marina was much better the rest of the service.
Aren't we like my daughter sometimes?
We know what we are supposed to do, we have freedom within certain limits. But we push our limits, and are reminded to stay within them or there will be consequences. Sometimes we listen. Other times, well, not so much.
When we don't listen, God has to take us, and discipline us. Sometimes we look for sympathy from others... sometimes we know and dread what's coming, and stifle our cries till we can't any longer.
But when we finally submit, surrender and seek forgiveness, how quickly the relationship is restored!
I wish I would learn to "listen the first time" as I tell my children. If I only listened the first time to my Father, I would be so much better off. I can't tell you how much grief I would have been spared, had I only listened the first time.
I am resolving to try to listen the first time to God. Even when I don't want to, or would rather drag my feet. As I have read, and tried to instill in my kids, "Slow obey is no obey." Resisting doing what God says, or telling Him that I will do it later is not obeying Him.
It's just like my daughter. She might have finally obeyed me this morning, without my having to take her out of the service. What would she have learned? It was OK to do what mommy wanted you to do, in your OWN timing, not mommy's.
Overall lesson learned? If someone wants you to do something, you can take your time at doing it... as long as it finally gets done, after lots of asking and pleading and threats.
That wouldn't apply very well to her relationship with God.
And it doesn't work very well in my relationship with God either.
Let's just say that if I had listened to God a month ago about something, I would have saved myself a month of stuffing, anxiety, fear, frustration and overall stress.
It boils back down to something I have been finding over and over again this month.
Trust in God.
If I fully trust Him, if He has proven Himself trustworthy (and He has) then I need to settle in for the ride and trust Him.
No matter what He tells me to do.
Just as it hurts my heart when my kids don't trust something I say, or trust me enough to do something I want them to that's out of their comfort zone, how much more does it hurt our Father's heart when I don't trust Him?
I don't want to do that any more.
Let's work together.
Let's "listen the first time."