One of the many mini-sermons I would inflict upon my children begins with my famous quote, “I don’t tell you no, you tell you no with your behavior”. This was sure to set off a series of unfortunate verbal exchanges between us that would end up with them reluctantly submitting to my authority and a halfhearted repentance. I undoubtedly acknowledge that is was partial because let’s face it… THEY WERE KIDS!
And I, admittedly, was a parent who did not like saying no to my babies. However, I knew they had to have some sort of boundaries. So I came up with a system (so I thought) that would put the responsibility back on them.
I am one of those age appropriate parents. When it is time (age appropriate) for you to do something, then you are more than welcome to do it. However, if your behavior and decision making reveals that you cannot handle a privilege or reward then I in all integrity cannot allow it or give it to you. Easy, right? And now the blog begins.
So fast-forward a few years to a twenty-five-year-old child calling you about a similar “behavior” issue. Similar to you, but oh so foreign to them because, remember, they can’t ever seem to recall the last fifty times you’ve had this particular conversation. Let us also not forget that this child is now a legal adult. You have been reduced to a sounding board for the last four years. So at the point of discovery in the conversation the Holy Spirit chimed in. “Tell her I’m not telling her no; her behavior is telling her no.” I shrugged it off as a subconscious thought, but I did say it out loud anyway. The other end of the phone became silent. I took that as my cue. “Remember when you guys were coming up, I would tell you I don’t tell you no, your behavior tells you no. You earn the no because you have not met the qualifications OR the requirements to do certain things or go certain places. So I don’t have to go through the hassle of figuring it out at the time. Your routine behavior shows me if you can handle doing something or going somewhere without me. I know if I can or cannot trust your decision making process based on your daily behavior that speaks for you. So if you mad, be mad at yourself.” We both broke into laughter (thank God!), but I felt that gentle tap on my shoulder. Now I knew that it wasn’t me.
In the conversation I confessed that the Holy Spirit had revealed to me that while I was teaching them, He was busy trying to teach me too. And I didn’t get it either as His child until much later. He revealed two things, but I will focus on the first one for this conversation. He began to show me a lot of things I was asking for, praying for, begging for, and demanding as my right! I pictured me standing in front of Him in different emotional postures and attitudes naming and claiming… prematurely. He took me back to my previous blog, “Why I Gotta Do All That?”, where the answer was right there. “Had I given you the things you were seeking; your life would have been worse. The things you were asking for were not wrong. You were not ready. You had not spiritually prepared yourself or shown long-term maturity in order for Me to grant it. Those rewards and blessings required more time with Me, less time with them, breaking strongholds and chains, more endurance, more faith, more power… in which you were lacking. I would be a poor parent to allow you have something you are not ready for knowing it will only harm, over power you, or even worse take you further from Me in the end.”
I felt my heart soften. It was one of those moments when you really understand your mom or dad more than you thought you could. My Daddy is a good Daddy. We preach it, we yell it, we sell it. He wants to bless me. There is nothing that He does not want me to have in regards to wealth, health, and peace. He tells me all through the Bible that I am made in His image, I am the head and not the tail, I am more than a conqueror, and so forth. I used to think how can you encourage your child so much, but then have them living a defeated, minimal life? We now know as parents there is no good thing that we want to withhold from our kids. Is it so hard to believe that our parents in their own way felt the same at some point? We’re not discussing methods they used, but intent. Well, we don’t have to wonder this with God because He left us proof of what He wants for us (the Word) and how much He wants us to have it (crucifixion). He wants to bless us, spoil is even. Some examples of that is Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, Solomon, Esther, and many others. Just seemed like some of us didn’t have to work at it as hard as others. Or… when it came time to ask their behavior spoke for them.
Daddy still deals with me this way. I just didn’t know it. The past few years of my life have been what I would call miraculous compared to the majority of it. I’ve made more progress in three years than I have made in almost 30. But He showed me the turning point. He showed me what I did first to get where I am today. I got to a place where I was willing to do the work… consistently. I got to a place where I realized that when He’s talking to me about me, He’s not interested in what everyone else was doing. I’m His daughter, and I understand the rules of His house. So my concern became about Him. “Are You pleased with what I’ve said or done today? Did I represent You right in the situation? Did I meet your expectations? Because I’m willing to do all that. I know Who I’m doing it for.” (It’s easier when you know WHO you are doing all the changing for. If you’re still struggling with change, chances are you really haven’t figured out who He is yet for you.)
After another couple of hours of chatting and laughing at our past selves, I was able to hang up with a happy heart. I didn’t get it right away. But praise God I DID get it eventually. So will my children. I just need to hang on like my Daddy held on for me. Because there is not one good thing that I would ever want to be held back from any of them. I will remain the constant when they only know how to be the variable. Holy Spirit is smart enough to solve the problem.
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Just a little birdy and fish about the Father's business. Helping to better the world one blog at a time.