My son is a dawdler. When we are getting ready to go somewhere, putting on clothes feels like climbing Mount Everest. It takes all the weapons in our parenting arsenal to strategize solutions to this problem: consequences, rewards, timers, playing, nagging, begging…
Perpetual pokiness leads to frequent frustration.
Sometimes the leisurely pace is innocent. Sometimes it is a deliberate disobedience. He thinks, “If I am on my way to do something, then it counts as obeying, right?” Wrong. We’ve told him many times that one of the ways he shows us respect is by being “quick to obey.”
One of the reasons this behavior annoys me is because I know what my son is missing out on as a result of his choice. I know that if he was quick to obey the command to get dressed, he would have time to play before school. I know that if he was quick to obey the command to eat dinner, he would have time to go for a bike ride before bed.
When my son is slow to obey, he misses out on the blessings waiting on the other side.
This scenario has made me wonder about my own pokiness. Where in my life am I being slow to obey God?
There are things that God has made clear to me about how I should live. His instructions can come to me through prayer, His Word, or the insight of trusted friends- or maybe a combination of those things. There are many times, though, when I am slow to follow God’s instructions.
Sometimes I am slow to obey because of lack of clarity. I know He has called me to use me to change my path. But what does that mean? Do I make the change now or is he preparing me to change in the future?
Sometimes I am slow to obey because of lack of trust. I know He has given me gifts. I know He has called me to use those gifts to serve others, bless the world, and glorify Him. But can I really do THAT? ____ (fill in the blank) seems too far out of my capacity.
Sometimes I am slow to obey because of lack of desire. I know he has called me to give up my resources to help those in need. But I really want a new pair of boots. He’s not requiring that big of a sacrifice, right?
I wonder if God is like a parent, saying to me, “My child, when you are slow to obey, you are missing out on the blessings I have for you on the other side. The only person you are hurting is you.”
So what do I do?
Take the next step. Whether it is clarity, trust, or desire holding me back, my next step is to do something. If it is lack of clarity, perhaps my next step is to contact a friend and ask for advice. If it is lack of trust, perhaps my next step is look for a one time opportunity to do something I am nervous to do, and watch how God comes through. Then, when it comes time to do something longer-term, it might not seem so difficult. If it lack of desire holding me back, perhaps the next step is to give or change anyway. Sometimes the desire comes after the choice, not before.
If God has called me to do something, then I am able to do it. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says,
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.