Learning to obey :: a devotional on parenting
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. – Deuteronomy 8:5
There’s something missing from photos of children featured in adoption calendars and brochures. Sure, they are adorable and cute. But a small line saying something like “Warning: these children are normal and may cause you to pull your hair out from time to time” needs to be somewhere in the marketing materials. At least I think so.
Teaching a child to obey
To say we’ve entered the “Terrible Twos” might be a decent way to describe most days and nights at our house. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. The highs are a bit higher as Mae gets older and builds a relationship with us. My heart swells when she says “love you” before I walk out of her room at night. Mike digs the fact he asks, “Mae, who is this?” while riding in the car and she answers back either “Beastie Boys,” “Chili Peppers,” or “Dave Matthews.” She even requests “Beach Boys” these days.
But with these highs come a few lows too. I wasn’t ready to be told “no” and physically hit and smacked. Telling a toddler to change her attitude and close her eyes, only for her to repeat those words back to me, can get under my skin. “Mae, obey” is a famous phrase around our home and the time-out spot is beginning to show some serious wear due to her hesitation to follow the rules.
Learning to obey
In the midst of trying to keep my cool, hold my tongue and not overdose on chocolate, I’m humbled by how gracious of a Father we have in Jesus. As I nearly go bald trying to parent an independent two-year-old, I am humbled by the Lord’s grace as I try to pull the same stunts in the spiritual sense. I ignore God some days. I don’t want to sit and read his Word, much less obey it. I have my own ideas of how my day will go, how my money is spent, how to use my time and what my future holds – I don’t want Him to interfere. I want to do my own thing.
Following God’s discipline and instruction
Any parent knows that discipline and instruction for our kids is ultimately for their benefit – it’s not fun making anyone mad, much less a two-year-old. We don’t upset our kids because we want to, we instruct them because it’s ultimately best for them. And while this concept makes sense when I’m in control, when I put myself in the “child’s seat,” it seems to be a bit more difficult.
God’s commanded us to love and obey him. To surrender our independence and to follow the commands and calling He’s placed in our lives. When we choose to push back on that, half-way obey or even “hit and scream” at Him, we’re missing out on the joyous relationship He offers us. Sure, he offers us grace over and over. But the chance to know Him and experience true joy and fulfillment is lost each time we say “no.” We become just like those sweet kids on the adoption calendar who need a disclaimer under their name. “Warning: this Christian may look sweet and say the right thing but her heart is really a mess.”
Friends, it’s time to obey… without being told twice. God’s love awaits us.