At some point on Saturday, I discovered a bright green folded up piece of paper in the middle of this madness:
[Side note: Cash was less than enthused to share his floor.]
On said green piece of paper, I had written four Oswald Chambers quotes and James 1:4.
"We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite."
"If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious."
"Many of us are all right in the main, but there are some domains in which we are slovenly. In numberless ways God will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we learn the lesson because He is producing the finished product."
"Wait on God and He will work, but don't wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you. ... To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told."
James 1:4 - "But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
I have no idea when I made these notes or what the inspiration behind it was, but clearly, the information is timeless or maybe just maybe I should pay particular attention to quote #3. Throughout the remainder of the weekend, I kept going back to the piece of paper and re-reading the quotes. Then I started thinking. Ugh, I hate it when I think.
I started thinking about how conditional my obedience to God is. I'm not making excuses for my behavior or placing blame on parenting tactics, but as little people we are essentially trained that if we behave in a positive way, then we will receive a treat or reward. Which begs the question, what expectation is created? Obedient children or a life filled with rewards? While this approach may certainly have benefits, we cannot transfer this way of thinking over to our relationship with our heavenly father. [And by "we", I mean "I"] Why not? Doesn't Scripture teach us that when we delight in the Lord, he gives us the desires of our hearts? Or if we ask in His name, then it will be given unto us? Confession: I spend far too much time focusing on the last parts of those verses than I do on the first parts. What does delighting in the Lord really look like? Or asking things in His name? Probably not pouting and sulking when things don't go according to our plan.
Far too often I approach God as a child approaches Santa at Christmas. I say that I've been a good girl because I get up and go to church even when I am sleepy, I tithe, I read my Bible, I say my prayers. So then I present my requests with nary a thought or consideration as to what my life would really look like if I got all of those things that I asked for. Notice the common pronouns there? How possessive and HP-centric can a girl be? Just as my parents used discernment in not giving me every single thing on my Christmas list, God in Heaven uses discernment too. Discernment that protects. Discernment that provides. Discernment found in unconditional love for his conditionally obedient children.
"Not my will, but yours be done." ...May this be our prayer.