Forcing My Will
How often do we think we know what’s better for our lives than God?
The other day, D found the little buckle cover that came with his car seat. It doesn’t attach to anything and just slides over the bottom buckle. No real purpose. So I removed it and stuck it in the driver’s seat back pocket. Surprise surprise, Mister I-hide-everything-in-everywhere peeked in that pocket to evaluate it for hiding potential and found this new treasure. He declared that he needed to have it for the car ride home. I knew better, but have you tried to argue with a 3-year-old? So we slipped it over his buckle, fastened the straps, and headed off on our five minute drive.
A brief history of those five long minutes:
D is extremely excited about his “new buckle”.
He talks about it and is so happy to have a new buckle in his new seat.
He tries to pull it up so he can hold it.
His buckle holds it in place.
He does not want it anymore and I tell him he needs to wait until we get home.
He does not like this answer and proceeds to whine/cry that he doesn’t like it.
He asks if I can take it off.
I say no.
He asks if I can take it off.
On repeat for the remaining three minutes home.
We pull into the driveway and he pushes the button to open the garage door.
I undo his buckle and remove the buckle cover. He side eyes it.
He shoves it back in the seat back pocket and says he “no like new buckle anymore.”
As I chuckled to myself and rolled my eyes at my 3-year-old’s antics, I was stuck by how often I must look like that to God. How often do I petition Christ to act on my behalf in the every day? “Lord, please cause this to happen” or “Lord, please stop this from happening” and I throw a little fit when things don’t go quite my way. Sometimes I am hard-headed enough to try to force my will. I imagine that I am just helping God along because surely He will bless my heart’s desire because I am walking faithfully with Him, right (falling prey to treating God like a genie in a bottle)? I orchestrate opportunities for God to move, as if He needs my help. I am forcing the issue and trying to manipulate God into giving me my will.
I even take it a step further. Sometimes I just push forward and say, “Whatever, God. I think this should happen so I’m going to make it happen.” I put my symbolic buckle cover over my belt and take pride in how self-sufficient I have been and the wonderful decision making skills I have shown. But we all know that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
How often do I seek recognition of myself instead of recognition of God’s goodness? How often do I trust in my own counsel instead of the counsel of the Lord? How often do I make my own path instead of asking the Spirit to guide me? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do no lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6. I have heard this passage since childhood but it has taken decades to take root in my heart. The longer I live, the more realize just how powerless I am. There is so very little I can control that you would think it would be easier to fully trust God. Instead, I grab hold of that little area of control and I fight to maintain it in my own power. But when I am acting in my own power, I make mistakes and I turn down the wrong paths.
I do not want to act like a spiritual 3-year-old, insisting on my own way and not listening to the voice of my Heavenly Father. I want to rest in Him and His will knowing that “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” Proverbs 19:21. Even when I fail, God continues to show His faithfulness and love and provision in my life. May I not show impatience and annoyance to my son when he makes poor choices, but may I model my Heavenly Father so that one day my son will seek a relationship with Him as well. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? To know Him and make Him known.