I rolled over brushing my hand against her arm in the dark and felt the familiar heat of a fever radiating off her tiny body. “My head hurts, Mommy.” I hear her whisper. Are you kidding me? Of all children to get sick, it had to be the one who treats taking medicine like it is actual torture. 4 am flashes across my phone screen, mocking me with its blinding glow as I squeeze my eyes closed again, longing for the sleep that abandoned me. I take a deep breath, willing myself out of bed to face the inevitable screaming, crying and bargaining that always follows that high number flashing on the thermometer.
20 agonizing minutes pass with little to show except sticky hair and clothing from a dramatic display of spitting the first dose all over everything. She finally relented and I squirted the tylenol to the back of her throat, bypassing any chance of her spewing it all over again. Within seconds, she was smiling again, claiming, “See, that was so easy mommy”. I could feel the steam escaping from my ears at that point. She happily returned to bed with cartoons to help her fall back asleep as the fever cooled within her tiny body. Meanwhile, I laid there fuming, wondering why on earth it was so hard to get her to take the medicine. It really is not that big of a deal. Yet the battle returns every 4 hours. We wasted all that time and tears when she could have faced the uncomfortability, taken the action needed and moved on.
“My sweet child, do you not act the same way?”
Oh. I know that voice anywhere. Gentle but stern, loving and holy. I debate rolling over and faking sleep as if God would believe my facade and leave me alone. Knowing this would only prove my own childish behavior, I remain, ears open and heart listening for the wisdom found in holy whispers.
“How many times have I asked you to do something and instead of obeying, you threw a fit or avoided the task, only to eventually relent and find that life is so much easier if you face the thing in obedience first?”
Too many to even count. I am hesitant and stubborn to obey the big things I feel him calling me to do…apologize and mend the relationship, discipline the misbehavior, leave the job, break-up with the boy, do the dang laundry. Okay, kind of joking on the last one. But you get the idea. It doesn’t matter if the task is monumental or minute though. It doesn’t matter if it requires hours of my time or 20 minutes. I will avoid the task if it involves a hint of uncomfortability, even if it is good and necessary. Much like my daughter tries to avoid taking medicine that is meant for her good.
Maybe you do the same? There’s a task in your mind right now that you’ve been procrastinating for no other reason than it’s uncomfortable, or you aren’t quite sure how to complete it, or maybe pride is stopping you from reaching out to that person. Whatever it is, maybe there is guilt, stress or anxiety building. You’ve reached a point where whatever needs to be done, now feels like a mountain-high task with ominous caverns full of monsters keeping you awake at night. I know because I face the same self-built, monster-filled mountains too. Usually in the middle of the night when there is nothing else to keep my mind distracted.
I say self-made because God does not place guilt upon us. He will absolutely let our own consequences play out based on the actions we make (or don’t.) Much like how I try to parent my own children. They need to learn how to discern and make decisions on their own and it’s my job to equip them for that level of independence, not force them to do things my way (and punish them when they don’t.) There will be times (like taking medicine) that I know it is better for them to walk through uncomfortability. I hate being perceived as mean when all I’m trying to do is keep them safe and healthy. I imagine God probably feels the same when I wrongly accuse him of being unfair and unkind when it’s my own heart lacking kindness, willingness and obedience.
Why are we so reluctant to obey things God is calling us to do?
I don’t have an exact answer for this except that I have some digging to do to reach the root of my own reluctance and avoidance. I wonder if maybe you need to take some time this week to do the same? God allows us to feel uncomfortable because it requires us to lean into Him, trusting in His plan and drawing upon His strength. All of this is meant to grow our faith and make us more like Jesus. Have you ever heard the expression “diamonds are created under pressure”? The pressure is what causes the change. Unlike diamonds, we have to decide if the change will be for our good, moving us towards more positive, healthy lives. Or will we let ourselves become crushed under the weight, choosing to remain stuck instead?
Today, let’s take a step in obedience, choosing to lean into uncomfortable things, allowing the pressure to change us for our good and His glory, and trusting in God’s goodness. It can be as intricate as mending that relationship or as simple as folding the load of laundry.