We were stuck in a terrible rut of misbehavior and punishment. Constantly doling out discipline left me feeling exhausted and empty. I wanted to see their smiles instead of their tears.
My older boy had been begging to go to Barnes and Noble for weeks, but I kept putting him off, using the excuse that his room held stacks of books of which he had yet to crack the spine. But, one Friday afternoon I relented and surprised both boys with an impromptu date - a treat in the cafe and their choice of a new book.
Everything started out fine. I even managed to graciously replace the pastry my 9 year old selected and then decided after one bite he didn’t care for with something a little sweeter.
The trouble began when we made our way to the children’s section so they could select their books. My six year old was drawn like a moth to a flame toward a display of Elf on a Shelf toys. Not a book.
He mustered all his manners to negotiate for the doll instead of the book.
I remained firm, insisting that I had offered to buy him a new book, not a toy on this trip.
I knew that the elf would be fun for a while, but at some point it would become burdensome to maintain the ruse and I would be caught. Then, his disillusionment with the “magic” would produce major repercussions.
That is when he crossed his arms, turned on his heels and marched to the farthest corner of the low benches around the tree used for story time. He pulled his feet up to his chest rested his head on his knees.
I made numerous attempts to comfort him, but each time he became even more agitated. When I approached him, he would turn his back to me and stomp away. Once, he even shoved me out of his space.
My heart ached, longing to comfort him even though I had no intention of giving in to his demands. As his mother, I knew a book was the option with lasting value.
How many times have I put God in a similar position?
How many times have I demanded instant gratification, despite the short-term value?
How many times have I insisted on getting my way, even when it may lead me away from His plans for me?
How many times have I fixating on my desired outcome, begging Him to answer my prayers the way I want so I’d know He loved me?
Then, how many times have I shifted away when He didn’t deliver the way I deemed best, thinking ‘If God really loved me He would have…’?
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for what we want. God wants us to share our heart’s desires with Him. But even more than that He longs for our desires to be in line with His purposes. He wants us to want what He wants for us. Just as I was concerned with my son’s long term well-being, so is our Heavenly Father more interested in giving us the things that have long term benefits than those that yield only earthly or immediate pleasure, even if they seem perfectly reasonable and good to us.
Friends, it is so much easier to accept His will for our lives when we begin to understand that God is deeply invested in bestowing blessings with eternal impact.
Today, let's take time to delight in God's great love, and remember that He deeply desires for us to understand that He has our best intentions in mind even when things don't go how we planned. As we allow Him to captivate our hearts, our desires will begin to align with His perfect plan which will protect us from the lies of the enemy.
Word of the Day: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for being the giver of all good gifts. Please forgive me when I insist on getting my own way. By your Holy Spirit lead me instead to desire your goodness for me. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Author: Liz Giertz