Sunday, March 2, 2008

She's Just Like Me

Trevor made a comment this past Friday that really got me thinking about my personality. I have to begin by giving some background, so that you will understand what he meant.

Friday afternoon, the kids and I pulled up into the driveway and I turned off the engine. I got out to go around to Gracie's door so I could get her unbuckled, and noticed that Nathan had gone around the back, opened her door and was trying to help her out. I say trying, because she was screaming at him to stop touching her and generally being unreasonable. I made her calm down and let Nathan help her, and then thanked Nathan for being so helpful. I turned to Gracie and told her to tell Nathan thank you for his help.

She pressed her lips together and glared at me. Sigh. For the hundredth time in 2 weeks, we had this conversation:

Xandra: "What happens when you don't obey Mommy?"

Grace: "I get a spanking."

Xandra: "So would you rather obey Mommy and tell Nathan thank you, or would you rather get a spanking for being disobedient?"

Grace: "Say thank you."
Great! Problem solved and we moved on. We tackled disobedience and manners in the same lesson. Too bad it didn't actually work out that way. When it came to actually saying thank you, it was quite problematic. She pressed her lips together and glared at me. When after some prompting she still refused to speak, I followed through and gave her a swat. I then instructed her to go tell Nathan thank you.

Again, the pressed lips and the glaring. We had the above conversation again, and she made the same choice. And we went through the same thing, again. Two swats, and no "thank you."

People, she took three spankings and when she finally said thank you it was barely intelligible. So much for absorbing the lesson on politeness. I sat her on my lap and held her for a bit and told her that I loved her, and all was well with the world.

Until later.

I actually can't remember why we were going through the cycle of conversation, choices and discipline, but Trevor was home by then. After it was over, I told him about the earlier incident, and he said, "She's just like you."

At first, I dismissed it as joking about how stubborn I am, but then I realized that he had a point. It is true that I am stubborn, particularly when I think I'm right. But what he was talking about was my pathological hatred of being told what to do. For example, if Trevor and I are wrestling and he has me down he will tell me to say uncle. I would rather have my finger snapped off than to give in. Maybe it's because I had a big brother. Who knows?

But that is the spirit in which Gracie is disobedient. It's not that the thing we are asking her to do is beyond her or even distasteful. It's the fact that it's not her idea and so she does not want to do it. That's when I started thinking about this shared personality trait in terms of my relationship with God. Sometime I don't want to be obedient out of pure obstinancy. Just like Gracie misses the blessing of harmony with her family when she disobeys Trevor and me, I miss the blessing of being in communion with the Father. I go through discipline and refining when I choose disobedience.

But when I finally let go of my will, and submit to God's, the homecoming is so sweet. Love and forgiveness wash over me as I confess and repent of my sin. I (foolishly) vow to never disappoint my Father again and, at the time, truly mean it. But inevitably the cycle begins again, and I find myself on my knees confessing and repenting. But here's the kicker:

He is faithful to forgive my sins and welcome me back with open arms.

Every time.

As much as I love Gracie and only want good things for her; and would never turn her away, how much more does my Father in heaven love me? When I fall away in sin and disobedience, I have the sweet assurance that my Father in heaven will never turn me away either.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10.


Mocha with Linda said...

Ouch. You would have to post this. :-) I so relate. Growing up as the baby of the family, I've struggled my whole life with this same issue. Probably one reason my sister makes me crazy...I hate being bossed!

The spiritual application is very convicting yet heartwarming. I'm thankful God is more faithful than I am.

luvmy4sons said...

Beautiful post. Children are such good mirrors. I often liken my relationship with my children to God's relationship with me. Great application. Keep up the good work mom! AND I have one son and a husband who prefer it always to be their idea and are dsagreeable for the sake of being disagreeable. I SO understand dealing with it, NOT being it though! LOL! I am more of a people pleaser!

Alana said...

Great post, Xandra. I struggle the same way at times. Especially with the things God is telling me to do. Don't know why I can't just submit to Him when I know He knows best.

The Young's said...

Waht a great post!!! It's so true! thanks for your honesty. How old is Grace? Just wondering...cause Sadie is SO there too. It amazes me that they would rather take that spanking that do something as simple as say thank you. I pray that I can be obedient to go when He tells me to do something. We tell our kids "Slow obedience, is No obedience" you said...that applies to us too!! Very convicting post!! I needed it! Thanks!

Shari said...

I'm a very strong willed individual and have 3 children who can't deny coming from my gene pool.
So I'll try and learn from Gracie's lesson with a simple "thank-you".

ChRlswfe4Jesus said...

Thank you for your post, perfectly worded. I can so relate, I have the same problem with God and of course if one has this problem with God they will have this problem with all authority relationships.

I am also finding out that my youngest daughter is the same way. Wow! What a challenge for me to discipline her and give her the love she needs. I must add, my parents were all love with sporadic discipline, I got my way in the end and it wasn't until I met my husband that God sent someone my way that would not give into me. Not fun and has made for some very bad marriage situations. The fact we are still married is all God! He has worked so many things out in ways that no one can claim having anything to do with it. I praise God that He has not left me the way I was nor will He allow me to stay the way I am today. Dawn

Andrea said...

That was so beautiful. I really loved that Xandra. Straight from the heart.

Kelly said...

This is so insightful. I have had similar moments as a mother where I was alarmed at the modeling of my not-so-great moments by my daughter. Submission is a tough one here for my little gal. I, myself, have been learning a lot about submission this past year.

Amy said...

I am SO there!
Thank you fro posting this!