“I don’t like Moms.”
Just four careless words that tumbled out of my 5-year-old’s mouth last week. I’m sure no parent relishes hearing that their child dislikes them, but here was my daughter swearing off a whole class – not one mom but all moms! I suppose I should find comfort in this. She doesn’t want another mom; she was just stating her perspective – Moms stink! Ok, so I’m feeling a little vulnerable and hyperbolic.
I posed the obvious question.
“Why don’t you like moms?”
“Because they make us do things like clean up our rooms, and they don’t let us eat candy, and they don’t let us have Gatorade whenever the boys do,” was her honest reply.
Like my daughter, I remember not liking my mom very much at times and even making similar statements (sorry Mom). I also remember vowing NEVER to do many of the things that I now do with great ease and justification. So let me join the ranks of the guilty that look back over their childhood and cringe at how they treated their parents. I now see with clarity much wisdom in many of the actions my parents took.
The statement at hand has also caused me to reflect on my father/daughter relationship with God. I don’t think I’ve ever told God that I don’t like him, but too often my actions display just that sentiment. Like a wayward preschooler I whine and drag my feet toward my appointed task resisting with every excuse that comes to mind.
The truth is I don’t want to clean up the mess of a room that lies within my heart. It’s too much work. It’s overwhelming. There are so many other fun things to do. In addition, it’s so tempting to eat and take in things that aren’t good for me. Wouldn’t it be easier to be my own boss and do things my own way? So I essentially say, “I don’t need you God. I don’t like you. I can do it on my own.”
But like my 5-year-old who cannot sustain or protect herself, neither can I sustain or protect my spirit. Like my daughter who generally functions out of self-motivated desire, I function in that place too. Though I am grown and would assume to know more as master of my own destiny, the context of my world most often revolves around me and my understanding of it. But my understanding is flawed and falls short making me a lousy god.
The apostle Paul writes of his own flawed understanding:
“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25
Additionally Isaiah writes:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my
ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
I recognize the truth and power of these words as I read them, but I only experience peace and freedom as I relax and submit myself to God’s authority. My struggle only creates confusion and pain.
I realize that natural human instinct moves us to fight for independence and strive for our own way; so I wait paitently for a quiet moment when I can wrap my arms around my daughter and hold her - as God holds me. For as long as I can I will attempt to comfort and guard this little one from those things that might bring her harm, and I will pray that she finds rest as she yields to these arms of love.