January 10, 2014
I like my idea.
This morning, my son and I each made a cup of hot tea. When his had steeped to a glowing amber perfection, steaming with the aroma of peppermint and begging to be tasted, he snatched out the bulging tea bag, dripped it across the counter and splatted it onto a saucer...all with quite a great deal of enthusiasm. This is the kind of behavior that would have made the younger me into a nutcase. But not anymore. I've birthed 5 children and done my best to chill out and roll with the punches...and the drips, and the splatters, and the enthusiasm.
I laughed a little and then said, "Hey buddy, what you should do, is lift the tea bag just above the cup, squeeze what's left of the liquid into the cup, and then place it on your saucer. That way, it won't drip and splatter."
"Well, your way is better, but I like my way more."
Sigh. How many times have I done that to the Lord? Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." How many times have I let God know that I had it all under control, and that he could offer suggestions, but for the most part, "I got this"?
I'm learning to be not just a better listener, but a better follower of directions. There are plenty of times when I know that I can "be still and know" what the right answer is, but perhaps it looks more exciting my way. However, those directed steps would keep my life from leaving behind lots of drips, and splatters, and messes. I've noticed from my kids that the enthusiasm is only evident while MAKING the mess...not while CLEANING it up.
How many times has my Heavenly Father noticed that from me? So often I was sure things would still work out alright if I just did it my way. I have shoved my way through some tightly closed doors, because it just "felt" right. It looked exciting. It was mysterious. Here's the breakdown: I. wanted. it. Why shouldn't I push through and grab the thing that I want?
Well, because His way is better, even if I like my way more. Following those directions, those ordered steps, has me meeting people I would never have known, learning from them, pouring into them. God works through people, and we NEED each other. In addition, following directions keeps me from wasting the precious time that I have been offered on this earth. I make drips and splatters of mistakes that come from good intentions. Those messes have to be cleaned up by someone, and if I leave them for someone else, then their time is being wasted. I want to be effective. I want to be efficient. What I DON'T want is to stand before God and say, "I could have done more for you, but I wasted so much time planning my way and following my plan. I wasted so much time dripping and splattering through my life. I wasted so much time going back and cleaning up after myself in the form of apologizing, starting over, rebuilding relationships and trust."
Father, help me to hear you. Help me to follow your directions. Let your still, small voice become louder in my Spirit. Let the desires of your heart become the passion of my soul. I know your way is better, and I know that by following it, I will be closer to you. That's my ultimate goal. Closer to You. Closer to holiness. Closer to righteousness. I offer myself to you, and thank you for the new mercy you offered me today. Amen.