Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Want To Be Nice

Last night, the little lady was not in a good mood.  I got home in time for their first swimming lessons, and while she's normally the fish in the family, it was the eldest that was a superstar while she whined and disobeyed.  After swimming, she continued to cry.  Maybe she still feels crummy, but in our house that doesn't give you permission to disobey.  During dinner she put her feet on the table which necessitated her removal.  She threw a fit.  I had told the kids during swimming lessons that if they were good I'd give them a lollipop (I know, bribery is bad, but I have three two year olds so cut me some slack).  So after dinner, the boys got a lollipop and the little lady did not.

Oh.  My.  Heavens.  You would think she was subjected to Chinese water torture.  She begged for the rest of the night for a lollipop.  I told her, at one point, if you are kind and if you are nice while we play outside with the boys then you may have a lollipop.  She replied, repeatedly, while crying, "I want to be nice.  I want to be kind."  I said, "I know you do, but you have to show me that you are kind and nice and not just tell me."  A big concept for a two year old.

Turns out, it's a pretty big concept for a mommy too.  I looked at her tear-stained face and pleading eyes and really wanted to give her a lollipop.  But she had done absolutely nothing good and I couldn't reward bad behavior.  I actually believed her.  She probably DID want to be nice and kind.  She just wasn't being nice and kind.  I thought, wow, I must put God in this position a lot.

God I really want this thing.  I really want this change.  I really want this answer.  Would you please please please give it to me?  I know I'm running around disobeying the commands you have for those who believe and follow after you, and I am not reflecting your love and grace to a dark and suffering world, but I do want to be nice.  I want to be kind.  It's pretty hard though.  I'm attached to my pride and I don't want to look weak.  I would like to be one of the cool kids even if that means I'm not open and warm to everyone that crosses my path.  I'm craving pretty new things for me and my family even if that means that I can't be generous to my church or those in need.  I have to be right even if that means failing to admit I'm wrong or to follow my husband's leadership or to listen to Godly counsel.  I would like to only speak good and affirming words but criticism or gossip just sneaks out of my mouth when I'm not paying attention.

Ugh.  Don't you hate it when your parenting convicts you?  I think God believes that I want to be kind and nice just like I believed my sweet girl.  Because the truth is, I do.  That is my goal.  I want to not only be nice and kind but to live a life that reflects the grace and mercy and miraculous power and wonder of my Saviour.  Unfortunately, more often than not, my actions don't follow my intent.

Why?  Was I just sleepy or sick like my little one?  No.  I was lazy.  I didn't read God's word that morning to seek his guidance in my life and activities for the day.  I didn't get on my knees first thing that morning and ask that He direct my path and lasso my tongue and censor or restrain my less Christ-like urges and actions.  I didn't sit in the quiet and listen for what God would have me receive for the day.  Instead I rushed around, threw up a prayer in the chaos, and thanked Him for His faithfulness despite me during the day.  If I can give everyone from the cable guy to a client an appointment on my calendar, how is it that God keeps falling off of it?

Thanks sweet daughter for the reminder that I'm not acting much better than a two year old.  And I know better.  Plus, I want so much more than a lollipop.  I want to leave a legacy here on Earth as a shining tribute to my Heavenly Father.  I want to set an example for my children of who Christ is.  I want to follow in the footsteps of my Lord and live an abundant life that reflects His glory.

I Peter 3 - Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For:
“He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil and do good;  Let him seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers...
Luke 21  - Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man
John 10I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  
I Timothy 6Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 
II Peter 1 To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature...But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love....Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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