Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Perfect Parent

Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I had what someone might call a "Come to Jesus Meeting". She has gone over and around my rules regarding makeup more times than I can count and it was time that I stop shielding her from the consequences of her actions. She's only twelve - old enough to follow instructions but not quite old enough to make her own rules, and of course she thinks she knows what's best for her better than I do. Her excuse was something like, "I did it because I don't like the way I look when I do it your way." Before I go any further, this story is not an attempt to call her out but to share with you what I've learned from my circumstances.

Although I've explained on more than one occasion that my rules are there to help her-- not to put a damper on her life in any way, she chose to ignore them. As I thought about how to show her what she has done, it came to me - she disobeyed me in order to follow her own desires. Then it occurred to me that I recently did this very thing to God. And although I didn't think about it that way at the time, it was mere disobedience.

Anytime we choose our own selfish desires over what He tells us to do is nothing less than disobedience. Many times, it's something directly contradictory to His word but quite often we disobey direction from His Spirit as well. If we know the right thing to do and do not do it, we are doing (to Him) the very thing that many of us refuse to tolerate from our children. Isn't it time that we walk the same path that we set before them?

You might argue that there is a difference but I totally disagree. Disobedience is disobedience no matter who the subjects are. The very worst kind of disobedience, I believe, is disobedience to our perfect, omniscient God. He knows better than any of us what is best for each of us. He commands us to do or to avoid certain things because He doesn't want to see us hurt. Doesn't that sound exactly like our reasoning for the rules we set forth for our children?

Oftentimes, we tend to think we know better than God what's best for our lives. We pray for things WE WANT and we think if He doesn't give us the exact thing we pray for then He isn't listening or that He doesn't care. There have been many times that I failed to ask His will as I pray, and instead I ask only to be granted what I want. But isn't that merely another manipulation technique that our kids use on us?

Who are we that we should tell God what to do for us? Who are we that we think we know better than the God of the universe - who can see all things, knows all things and can do anything? When are we going to realize that it's NOT about what we can do, what we want or what we feel? Emotions have led humans astray for centuries and you'd think that if we are as smart as we like to think we are that we would have this lesson down pat.

Obedience requires a sacrifice. Part of that sacrifice means trading in my way for His way. The Bible is very clear on the importance of obedience. We cannot be Christians and live life our way - we just can't. How can you have faith without obedience? You cannot separate the two.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments." John 14:15
I am a firm believer that our children mirror us and if we aren't careful to live what we believe, it will produce rebellion in the hearts of our children. He also showed me that as I punish her actions, I can and should handle her with kindness, mercy and love as I expect her to do to others- but at the same time I must be firm. I have to get her attention somehow, someway. I showed her mercy by finding a more appropriate punishment for her actions. I showed her love by reminding her that I still love her and always will but part of loving her means that I have to reign her in when she goes astray. I'm convinced that He chastises us in the same way.

I hope to model His way of parenting and I pray that He will help me to be conscious about being obedient to His commands. Afterall, the we are called to live intentionally. I pray the same for each of us because our God deserves our obedience.

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