Lately, I have been working on a bad habit, and if you have teenagers, you probably know what I’m talking about:
I remind people, frequently, of obvious things to be done, and it drives them nuts.
Like this, to Tired of Being Youngest:
“Make sure you put gas in the car before the arrow points to the E, or you might find yourself stuck.”
Well gosh, that’s dumb — nobody, whether they’re driving their parent’s car or their own, wants to pull over to the side of the highway and wait hours for a rescuer to come with a gallon of gas. And if they do, the experience will be such that they’ll never want to repeat it.
Nag Nag Nag
Or to the Son and Heir, who is market gardening produce at the Farmer’s Market:
“There’s a lot to get ready before the market opens on Saturday, you know.”
He pauses from shoveling, leans on the handle, and gently stares.
As I said, it’s a lamentable habit, one that’s been years in the making, and one that effectively says to the people around me, “I don’t trust that you know what you’re doing, and if I don’t take control of everything, nothing will be accomplished.”
Bad attitude. And an easy one for mothers, especially, to fall into.
A Little Self-Control, Here
In this last week, I have consciously and deliberately shut myself up from saying stupid, controlling, mindless things, and as I have stepped back and just watched, I have been intrigued to see that I, and my observations, are not a necessary component for things getting done.
When I establish the parameters of what are, and are not, my responsibilities, I am free to fulfill the obligations that fall upon me, and then stop, and wait, for the other person to do their part. I’ve known this for years, and actually practice it a fair amount of time, but bad habits are easy to slide into, and when I don’t watch myself, I readily take on others’ worries, and responsibilities, as my own.
This includes stepping onto the toes and infringing upon the provinces of God, who owns — literally owns – me, because years ago I readily gave me life to Him. I have spent the ensuing years regularly trying to take it back, or at least enforce a degree of control into how it will be run, and this does not go over particularly well.
God doesn’t roll His eyes, but He does stay silent sometimes when I insist upon doing all the talking.
“It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose,” Philippians 2: 12 tells us.
“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 10)
There’s a Place for You and Me in All This
God makes it clear that He is the one in charge. (Celebrity preachers like to tell us that God has a Plan for our lives, but since too many of them associate that Plan with our pursuing prosperity by increasing theirs, I eschew this term). But the point is, God has a plan, period, for humanity, and it’s not for the glory of any human being and their vast ministry which bears their name, but for His.
And I, and you, are a part of it. But we’re not a part of it the way humans make us a part of their plans — by encouraging us to send them money, or volunteer our time while they get paid, or toil in obscurity so that they can shine in the light they point to themselves. We are part of God’s plan because we are members of His family, His sons and daughters through Christ, and what He gives us to do, and to work with, are good things:
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” Jesus asks in Luke 11: 11. “Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”
Well, on my bad days, I am fully capable of reminding God,
“I need help, please. And I don’t want You to hurt me.”
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11: 13)
Your will be done, Jesus. It’s better than mine.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage people to grow in their faith, and grow up in their faith. As a group, we Christians — especially those in the wealthier nations — are at risk of being ineffectual and unnecessary to the society around us, simply because we spend all of our time pursuing the wrong things.
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