The whole idea of the concept “strong-willed child” makes me laugh. I have yet to meet a toddler that does not have a “strong will.” AKA – they want what they want when they want it. There are those random few that are pretty go-with-the-flow, but for the most part, it’s their way or the highway. I have learned this with my daughter. Holy. Cow. If it’s not her idea, she’s not doing it. So if she is given two choices, even if it’s not something she wants to do, she’ll do it as long as she gets a say. It’s exhausting. I’m constantly trying to think of choices to give her that are in line with what I need her to do.
I’m so indecisive. If I don’t have to make a decision, I won’t. Part of it is simply personality, but I’ve realized that as a parent, I’m making CONSTANT decisions. Some are big, like, where will they go to school? Some are small, like what will all of us wear today? What can I feed them that they’ll actually eat? And just about all day long, I am subconsciously deciding whether I tackle my to-do list, or spend time with my people.
There is one sentence my kids say to me that stops me dead in my tracks every time.
“Can you come sit with me?”
Sometimes it’s other words that are used – like, “Will you watch this movie with me?” “Will you look at this book with me?”
But it’s way more about the tone and the meaning behind it than what they’re asking me to do. I can literally hear it in how they ask. What they’re really asking is:
Will you choose me?
Can you choose me before your to-do list? Can I be your priority instead of getting it all done?
I’m recognizing more and more why God tells us that unless we become like kids, we’ll never enter into heaven. (Matthew 18:3) I think we’ve always equated this whole idea to simple concept of innocence. It is about that, but so much more.
More often than not, my kids choose what is best. To be fair, they don’t have very many responsibilities, and they definitely have way more energy. But they choose to have fun. They choose to play. They choose to just be with the people they love instead of worrying about what’s coming next.
God is asking the same question of us: Will you choose Me?
I think that when most of us hear this question, we think God means: “Can you do something for me?” Like, will you wake up earlier to spend time with Me? Will you serve Me? Will you do the “right” things for Me?”
Those things are important but what is more important is just choosing Him. Period. In the middle of your schedule, in the middle of your breakdown, in the middle of your intentional screw-up. But it’s often a sacrifice to choose what is best. To choose to slow, and be still. To sit and watch a show or read a book with your kids, when the dishes haven’t been done in two days. To set aside time in your day to allow God to breathe into you, rather than busying yourself to get through your task list.
He is asking us to just be with Him, rather than be something for Him.
Will you choose Me in the quiet, when it’s easy to be complacent?
Will you choose Me in the busy, when you “should” be somewhere else?
Will you choose to trust Me, when I’m not making things very clear?
Will you choose to believe in My peace, even when it’s beyond understanding?
Will you choose My process over instant gratification?
I don’t know where you find yourself at today – but as school gets back in session, and the fall ramps up – we have so many reasons to be busy and distracted. Just like Martha in the Bible, we can choose to power through and be bitter and exhausted, or we can “choose what is better.” [Luke 10:42] I want to choose what is better, not so I can impress God with my decision making, but because He is better. He alone is my peace and my safe place, and every other illusion of success or will always fail me.
Oh, and the dishes, the paperwork, whatever else you’re killing yourself to get done – it’ll all be there tomorrow.
“Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all of your every day human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.” Luke 12:31-32 msg