My family and I moved to the rural Arkansas Delta from Detroit, MI about seven years ago so that I could pursue a career as a teacher. My daughter, who was born shortly after our move, has never experienced a real, Northern winter and has an extremely low tolerance for cold weather. We seldom get any snowfall here, and if we do it’s only a few inches, yet it is enough to drive my daughter crazy with excitement.
This past week, thanks to winter storm Inga, we received about three inches, enough to close school for three days here in the Delta. Per usual, my daughter begged to outside in the snow despite the bad experience she had last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. Every year, she talks incessantly about how good her snow angels are. Every year, I remind her of how cold she gets after only a few minutes. I try to get her to recall the frozen fingers and toes that seem to take forever to warm again. It never works. She promises to layer. She assures me that it won’t be too cold this time. And, each year I agree to let her go out and play in the snow.
Within five minutes, she is banging on the front door, begging to come back inside. She swears are hands and feet are minutes from frostbite and cries for me to warm her up.
Each year, I am there waiting. Waiting to take off her wet clothes and replace them with dry ones. Waiting to wrap her in a heated blanket and hold her until the chill wears off.
Why do we as parents allow our children to have their way even when we know it’s not what’s best for them?
I think the easy answer is that we love them, and we want them to be happy. But the more complex answer is that we want them to trust us. We want them to feel the consequences of their choices so that they will heed our wisdom in the future. As parents, we hope that our kids will get tired of their way long enough to listen to ours.
Watching my daughter go through this each year reminds me of the story of Israel’s search for a king. Even though Israel was ruled by God Himself, they were not happy with this arrangement and wanted a king, like the other nations (in my whiny child voice). God gave them what they asked for even though He desired something different for them. As a result, they found themselves at the mercy of human kings, often having to pay the consequences for their mistakes and shortcomings.
How many times have we begged God for something that He had already determined was no good for us? How many times did we have to learn a hard lesson because we were unwilling to yield to wisdom?
Romans 12:1-2 reminds us to live life as a sacrifice and to not be conformed to the world so that we will have an opportunity to show the world what God’s perfect will for our lives looks like. In order to experience God’s perfect will, we have to give up the right to have life on our terms. We have to live as a sacrifice, submitting wholly to God our Father, who ultimately has our best interest at heart.
Has your heart been fixed on something that isn’t good for you? Are you living life as a sacrifice or are you demanding that God let you do life on your own terms? Are you ready to lead a life that yields to wisdom or are you content learning your lessons the hard way?
The journey to wholeness requires hearing “no” without feeling rejected.
In order to reap the benefits of spiritual maturity, we have to release the right to have everything we think we want and trust that God’s perfect will has been designed to give us everything we need. And, sometimes, like children, we need to be told “no”.
What was your recent “no” from God? How did you respond? Leave a comment below!