“Why aren’t these kids listening to me,” I wondered aloud, as I marched up the steps to figure out why, after being told ten minutes ago to put their pajamas on, my son was running around with his underwear on his head and my daughter was twirling around in nothing but her pink ballerina tutu. “My night would be so much smoother if they listened to me,” I thought.
And then the thought struck me: how many times had God thought the same thing about us? The answer is clear if we take a look in the book of Psalm:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
~Psalm 32:8 – 9
Here is God’s promise to give us direction for our lives–if we are willing to be obedient. This scripture reminds me so much of my kids. Like, why I gotta ride you like a horse to get you to do what I’ve been asking you to do? And I get so frustrated with my kids sometimes, but in reality, I know God has felt the same way about me so many times over.
So why don’t my kids listen? (This is as much therapy for me as it is talking about God).
- They want to do things their own way. Even though their parents know what’s best for them, and, in fact, want what’s best for them, they think they know better and want to do it their own way.
- Their way is easier and takes less hassle. Why neatly place toys in the toy box when it’s much easier to chuck them halfway across the room and see how loud of a sound they make as they hit the wall? It makes more sense to do it their way. And if they can do less work, then it will take them less time to get back to the stuff that they really want to do. So they take short cuts, or half do the job instead of taking the time to do the job right and in the exact way their parents are asking, or in the way it should be done.
- Mom and dad don’t understand how taxing the thing they’re asking them to do really is. And surely if they understood how hard it actually is to pick up all of the toys and put them back in the toy basket, then surely, mom and dad wouldn’t ask them to do such a thing.
- They’re afraid. How many times have they pleaded not to have to go upstairs by themselves at night because it’s dark? They can’t see in the dark so they’re afraid of heading in the direction that their parents told them to go.
Need I go on? How many times in life do we act like our children, or younger nieces and nephews, or other young kids we know? What has God been prompting you to do that you have just been absolutely dragging your feet about? Do you think you know better than God? Is it easier to do it your way? Are you afraid?
And I’m not even talking about some big life-changing event like leaving your job. Let’s be clear: I am not telling you to leave your job. The Lord didn’t say that–at least not through me. Don’t put that on me. What I am saying is that each day presents opportunities to follow God’s prompting in the small things: helping someone carry something heavy, stopping to talk to the one co-worker you know nobody really likes, calling that relative or friend with whom you’ve been trying to improve your relationship. Whatever it is, don’t ignore God’s prompting and direction. Let’s let others see a little of God in us each day. We do that by obeying God and obeying his promptings. Please, for the true love of God, don’t be like my kids.