Oh, the lessons my mama is still teaching me! I went over the other day to help Mom with a bath. She seemed happy to see me. Then I asked her to please get up and take a little walk down the hall with me. (We’ve learned not to use the bath word until we’re right next to the bath.)
Dad stood up to help inspire her. “Come on, Nina! Let’s go!” he cheerfully cajoled.
Mom promptly put her feet up on the footstool, crossed her ankles, and with a little smile said, “What if I don’t want to?”
Dad chuckled and mumbled, “Yea, what if you don’t want to…” But he managed to convince her to stand up and I was able to take her from there.
The bath was as challenging as usual. One extreme moment happened as I was leaning over and unfortunately had my ear a few inches from her mouth when she shouted at the top of her lungs. Ouch! She was angry about every step of the bath process and let me know with loud protests.
But anyway, we got through it all, and then Mom all fresh and clean went back to the living room and sat down. And then she said, “What am I supposed to be doing? Tell me what to do.”
I thought it was interesting that when I was asking her to do specific things she protested and fought me through it all. But moments later she was asking for direction.
And it dawned on me how often I do the same thing with God. I pray and ask Him for guidance. I want Him to show me what job to have and what house to buy. I want Him to give me a ministry and a clear calling.
I say that I want to live in the center of His will and I think that if He would only clearly tell me His directions I would of course do them.
But then I realize how often I see instructions in the Bible, or hear quiet promptings of the Spirit, and if not consciously, at least sub-consciously, put my feet up and cross my ankles and have the attitude of, “What if I don’t want to?”
I’ve been commanded to forgive and to bear with others and to let the peace of God rule in my heart.
I’ve been told to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. I’ve been instructed to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned.
I’ve been challenged to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks…” (I Thess. 5:16-18) And that whatever I do, I should…“do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Col. 3:23)
And over and over again I am called to love. To love God and to love others. To treat others as I want to be treated. To offer hospitality without grumbling. To be kind and patient and unselfish.
And I wonder how often, even as I’m asking God for direction in some areas of my life, I’m ignoring or neglecting directions that He has already clearly revealed.
God has made much of His will plain. I know on this earth I will continue to struggle and that my obedience to Him will never be perfect. But with His help, I want to be more sensitive and obedient to the commands He has already given me.
I don’t want to be found with my feet up, saying, “What if I don’t want to?” I don’t want to struggle and fight against what He’s already clearly called me to do.
I want to walk in the Spirit faithfully. And as He brings to mind His Word I want to willingly obey. I want to say to Him, “Tell me what to do now, please.” And mean it. And do it. Moment by moment. Not just seeking His direction for the “important” things, but striving to obey in all the big and small daily things of life that His Word already speaks to. Please help me, Jesus.
And thank you, Mama, for another lesson.
(Mama passed away in December of 2016. The lessons and memories made as I helped care for her continue to convict and inspire me now. I’m so grateful for the time we had together and miss her so much. What a comfort to know that because of the saving grace of Jesus we will be together again some day and for eternity.)