Just yesterday, as I was feverishly preparing for us to leave, I said to my daughter--who had been playing princess dress-up--"Baby, we have to be in the car in 5 minutes. Go change clothes so you will be ready." I watched her leave the room and then heard her little feet scamper up the stairs. "Wow, she obeyed so well," I thought with a touch of pride in my heart over my parenting skills.
After I finished my preparations--including bags, drinks, dinner, diapers, clothes, and more--I ran upstairs to announce our departure. She was sitting on her brother's floor helping him "thread" a necklace. Yep. That is where she had been for the last 7 minutes. Now I was "behind schedule"--if there is such a thing with three kids under age 5--and a bit irritated that she was still dressed like Sleeping Beauty.
Everyone finally had their tushes in their respective car seats approximately 20 minutes after my first announcement of our exit. WHY??? Primarily because I feel like I am herding cats at times--like they each have their own agenda and zero time awareness. And I can get so frustrated when I actually have a commitment!
I tried to explain to all three while I pulled out of the driveway with raised blood pressure, "Do you guys understand that half-obedience is still disobedience? Hailey, when I said go upstairs and get dressed, you disobeyed. You did go upstairs but did not get dressed." "But I was helping my brother!" she defended. "Yes, and that was very kind, but still disobedient."
Then I realized something. They are just like I can be in my own natural self--disobedient, self-focused, and stubborn. The truth is that I can just hide it better because I don't walk around whining and pitching fits--at least on good days. But ultimately my heart, left to itself, rebels from this loving, holy, gracious God.
I don't want to halfway obey, because that is just disobedience often disguised in niceties. If God directs me to do something then I want to do it completely. When He instructs me to forgive fully, love unconditionally, speak only words that bless, and be slow to anger, then for me to be obedient I have to fully obey. Wow. That is why He sent His Spirit to indwell believers--we cannot do those things on our own. It has to be Him working through us, by His power. We must let go of the reins and allow Him to live.
I learn so much from my kids--sometimes it is the innocence of faith and other times the depravity of my own heart. God is so very faithful to teach if we are willing to learn.