25 January 2010

Spiritual Lessons Learned from Lorelei

Lorelei is my niece and is almost three years old. She is adorable and has quite a large vocabulary for a kid her age. She's a pretty smart kid, which means she is more than capable of doing everything herself, knowing everything she needs to know, and can make her own decisions on everything important in life... at least in her own eyes. If you've ever been around a two-something kid you know this is the age of independence.  This is the age where they want to go potty by themselves, eat by themselves, get dressed by themselves, and the list goes on. This is also the age where if any of the above is not allowed then sudden fits of rage resulting in screaming, crying, throwing hands in the air, and (my personal favorite) throwing their bodies around in ways that will only result in harm to themselves. I like to refer to this stage as whiney-pants-itis. This necessary stage of childhood growth can be more than a little taxing on the grownups who are subject to the daily onslot of tantrum after tantrum. The funniest thing about my niece is that sometimes, well most times, she starts to whine before she is even told no. It's like she is anticipating the worst before it ever happens. She is so determined in her two year old little mind that her parents are out to get her and they will never let her have anything that will make her happy. The thing she hasn't figured out yet is that if she would have not started whining or throwing a fit she probably would have received whatever it is that she desired. If she would just slow down and relax, use words in a normal tone, and be calm about her approach she would have a much higher chance of success. Why? Is it because my sister and brother in-law want to make things hard on her? No, absolutely not, but instead they wish to teach her there is a proper way to do things. They want to let her know that you can succeed with your desires if you go about it in the proper way. They also want to teach her that sometimes, no matter how cute she is, things cannot work out the way she wants. Sometimes her safety and protection have to come before her own perceived happiness.

Sounds a whole bunch like us in our relationship with God. We come to Him expecting the worst, so we come to Him with the wrong heart or intent. We come to Him expecting Him to say no to everything that we want in our lives. It's like it is bred into our DNA to expect the worst from God. Recently I suffered from whiney-pants-itis with God. Not in a "violently throwing myself to the ground while screaming at the top of my lungs" kind of tantrum, but rather an "I don't want to do that, why am I here doing nothing, I want a new life" tantrum. The worst part of this tantrum is that I was so comfortable doing it that I didn't even notice it was happening. I didn't even notice that I was out of line or acting in a whining, woe is me, self-pity way. I didn't even catch that I was freaking out, expecting the worst, and acting a fool before I even talked with God. So many times kids get mad at their parents without either side saying a word. They get upset for no real reason, just an imaginary issue that never existed to start with. This was my approach to God.

Throwing a fit with God will lead to nothing productive. Not because God wants to ignore me or doesn't want me to have what I want. It has more to do with the approach that I take with God. One thing I noticed with Lorelei is that when she starts whining prematurely she has no faith in my sister that she will get what she wants. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” My tantrum before I ask is not faith. It has absolutely nothing to with faith in God. On the contrary, it has everything to do with my own insecurities and uncertainties with God. It shows God what I really trust and rely in, which is not Him. Like my niece, I put all my trust in what I think I know and not in what is really true.

Mark 11:24 tells us how to receive from God, “"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive [them], and you will have [them].” If I am  going to have anything that I ask for then I have to ask it in faith. Like I said about Lorelei, I know that if she asked without whining she would have received much more of what she wanted. Whining to God is not asking God in faith, but rather demanding in doubt and unbelief that God is going to act on your demand rather than on His Word. People say that it is arrogant to pray in "faith" for things and expect God to move. What is true arrogance is to demand something from God and expect Him to move because you've demanded it. God works with faith, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him]..." God is under no obligation to you and your whiney requests, but He does have an obligation to those who come to Him in faith.

When was your last "whiney-pants-itis" moment with God? Do you think it really accomplished anything?

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