“Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.” Deut 12:28
My little Elijah has had a rough couple days. He’s earned for himself a lot of “consequences,” as we like to call them in our house. Since he’s outgrown the “time-out,” and is no longer phased by the loss of privileges, I’ve gotten wise in my old age. I now administer “a consequence,” which is a fancy word for “chore.”
This is actually working out really well for me.
“Did you just take a tone with me? Go make my bed!”
“I told you twice to turn off the TV. Here’s a basket of socks to sort.”
I’m looking so forward to the day when I can say, “Did you just talk back to me? Go grab the Strawberry Fields OPI nail polish out of my bathroom and give Mommy a pedicure!!!”
Oh, the benefits of having children…
Anyway, Elijah has stored up for himself so many consequences, I’m actually having a difficult time finding things he can do by himself. But my house looks great! Why so many consequences, you ask? Because we’ve been having lots of episodes like this:
Me: “Elijah, go brush your teeth.”
Me: “Elijah, we have to leave for school in two minutes, go brush your teeth right NOW.”
Me: Looking in his face, my voice getting lower and quieter so as to not totally blow a gasket, “Boy, get up from the chair, walk up the steps and brush your teeth. And the appropriate answer right now is “YES M’AM.'”
Elijah: “I’m eating.”
Me: Thinking to myself before I do something completely crazy…
“What in the WORLD???
Can he not hear me????
Does he not realize that I seriously will drive him to school with unbrushed teeth?
Does he not know that if he doesn’t brush his teeth, over time, he will single-handedly validate every stereotype about Kentucky and its lack of dental hygiene that people currently hold?
Does he not know the sheer power I retain to crush his little world and ban him to a life of sock sorting and bed making…not to mention pedicures???????????
(I can’t use the tried and true “I brought you into this world, I can take you out” because technically, I didn’t bring him into the world, what with him being adopted and all.)
Yes, it’s been like that a lot in the Cooper house this week. And I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing the problem. I’ve ruled out lack of clarity and follow through on my part. I’ve been abundantly clear with my requests and consistent with the follow-through. I’ve got the clean house to prove it.
I’ve also ruled out a hearing problem or brain damage on his part. The child is able to hear the word “candy” barely spoken above a whisper and spelled backwards, not to mention recount in great detail an entire episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants that he watched a year ago last Tuesday.
Hmmmmmmmmm. Could it be that he has simply lost his sense of respect for my authority and my voice? That he’s stopped taking me and my words seriously?
And as God is always so faithful to use my relationship between my children and me to illustrate the relationship between me and my Heavenly Father…He pointed out to me that I’ve been guilty of the exact same thing.
That’s right. Don’t you just love when God takes you out back and gives ya a little talkin’ to?
And while the illustration I used about Elijah is very lighthearted, what I felt when God spoke to me about His voice and His word is not. I’m deeply convicted and humbled. I confess and repent to God and to you today that I’ve handled the reality of hearing God’s voice in a very casual manner, at times, even on this blog. I’ve treated obedience to His voice as an “option.” I’ve referenced Him talking to me with the same familiarity I would reference a mere aquaintance.
After God spoke to me the other day (and I say that with all the reverence I can convey over this keyboard), I literally laid face down on my floor in worship. I repented for the times…the many, many times…I’ve approached Him as if He’s an interruption to my day or my plans. The times when I’ve questioned, stalled, ignored or outright disobeyed what He’s spoken to me, when the appropriate response was “YES SIR!”
I want to be changed when I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. I want to get to the point where I stop questioning, stop stalling and start obeying, the FIRST time He speaks! I want to stop treating God like a glorified version of myself–a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser, a little bit more patient–and revere Him for the Holy, Blameless, Loving, Merciful, Powerful God of Creation that He is.
Oh, God…that we would know You, hear You and obey You today.
Speak to me, Lord. I really, really want to obey. And maybe, just maybe, if I’d start obeying, You’d actually speak to me more often and with greater clarity?
Just a thought.