What next ensued was surprising, but then not surprising. Despite the six-year old’s insistence, the two-year old refused to budge and move away from the street! He just sat down on the ground right at the curb, and threw a fit with screams and tears. But I watched the six year-old patiently stand by him, and did not raise his voice or get upset. He just attempted to gently kick him and nudge him towards the square, towards a safer place. And that helped a little – the little boy did move just a little bit away from the road, and kept doing so with every gentle nudge. Albeit with his arms crossed in disgust, a constant whine and whimper, and a frown on his face.
Rachel pointed out how this reminded her of how we are with God. It’s so true – I rarely know what is really best for me. And I often run in this direction, or that direction, in search of excitement, or purpose, or fulfillment. In fact, I get on these seemingly noble but still wild goose chases where I convince myself that I *must* do this, or must do that. I see in retrospect that God has saved me from so much – the wrong relationships, the wrong work partners, the wrong investment decisions, the wrong choices. But I’m embarrassed to say that many times – before I get a clue – I am quite stubborn and childish in my immediate reaction when He corrects me, or diverts me, or undermines all that I wanted to do, or planned to make happen. My attitude and actions pretty much all the time tend to betray that I know what’s best for me. But I don’t. I just don’t. Only God does, and it’s at best foolish and at worst dangerous for me to think that I do.
Plus, when He corrects me in these ways, it feels like it’s a blow to my autonomy, my freedom. I feel like my choice is being taken away, and having that choice seems inextricably attached to my identity, my life, who I am. But the reality is that I am not losing freedom – I am simply being protected. That decision would just not be best for me. He knows, and I don’t.
But in these moments, all I can think about is how the derailing of my plans is painful. How His correction stings a little. How it’s not fun at all, and how sometimes I just want my way with no consequences. Just like I bet that two-year-old felt when his older brother was kicking him so he would move away from danger and back toward safety.
What I really want to work on is not moving ahead with any idea or choice without going to Him and making sure He’s on board. To be sure, I know that many times He won’t give me a green light and that I need to take the first step of faith if I feel good about the decision. But what I have learned from experience is that if I give Him that voice into the situation while I am taking the first step or two (before completely running off and doing my own thing), He will give me a yellow or red light. And that will serve as the direction I need, and keep me choosing options that are in line with His best for my life.