Friday, December 19, 2008


So, this week I picked up an old devotional I got a couple years ago. I had started it and gotten through the first couple chapters and then for whatever reason, quit. I have about 10 studies on my book shelf, much like this one. Some I've bought, some were gifts, ALL are unfinished. I'm not sure when starting something and NOT finishing it came to be such a regular part of my life. Regular and even, dare I say, acceptable? I used to be a much more disciplined and organized self.

The particular study I picked up was "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" by Cynthia Heald. A few years back it had been a Mother's Day gift from our church. I'm sure I took it home that day, popped it open and eagerly started it, just knowing I would do this study and be much more the wiser and obviously, by the title, i'd have become an EXCELLENT woman. Yes, I'm easily excited and just thumbing through the book made me smile. But, I digress.

It's obvious I didn't get far ... as i had picked it up and was in the middle of an unfinished chapter. And yet, I had to smile... because the verses and the thoughts posed to me were applicable to ME, at that VERY moment :) Love that God. (And to you satan, i refuse the guilt trip for not finishing. God was just holding that page for me til I was ready to read it and needing to hear it! so there!)

Chapter 5 is called "Exemplified by Obedience".
Key Verse:
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Hmm... here's what Cynthia wrote:
"Obedience is submission, habitually yielding to authority. If we have surrendered our lives to God, then it will be natural to want to yield to His authority, to obey His commands and to please Him by living His way. But obedience is not forced; it is motivated by a heart of love."

WOAH! Maybe read that again. Or again? Especially the last line hit me up side the head. "Obedience is not forced; it is motivated by a heart of love."

As a mom to 4 young children, the word obedience immediately makes me think of parenting and getting my kids to do what i say, when i say it, the way i want it done, in the timely fashion I'd like it done, and definately with the attitude that shows respect, love, thoughtfulness, kindness, yadda yadda yadda....

And then I hear that "And what about you, daughter?............... Have you followed through on calling that friend I prompted you to call? ..............What about actively blessing your family with a servant heart? ..................Or what about handing over the control on that area of your life you're still desperately holding on to?.............. I'm waiting........still here..........."

Has it ever occurred to you that the Lord doesn't yell at you? Never do you get belittling tones, sarcastic inferrences, the disapproving eyebrow, or the slow sad nod of the head from side to side.

How often do I send messages to my kids that imply nothing but disappointment? Trust me, an area I'm WORKING on!

So, back to the idea of obedience being motivated out of love. Brainstorm with me, will you? How can we model this for our kids. We all know they WATCH us and DO what we do far more often than doing what we "SAY" they should be doing. Why do you think we get so horrified when they do something embarassing?! Because we KNOW where they learned it! (Maybe I'll tell the story about my whisk and chipped paint on the wall another day!)

So, while we can talk to them about wanting to obey as a way to show our love to the Lord... how can we SHOW them obedience with the right motivation? Don't get me wrong.. dialogue is important! Huge, infact. BUT..... actions speak louder than words, yes? So often their motivation is simply to avoid discipline... but we never get to their hearts when simply dealing with the surface actions/choices they make.

SO.. hit me with some ideas.. lets talk about it! I have some of my own ideas but i do all the talking here.... surely my readers have something to say. Here's your chance!!!!


Ericanaysha said...

Can I just say....Ouch. I need to read the suggestions.

Thanks for another provoking post!

Connie said...

Wow! I have to agree with Erica ... OUCH! I really needed to read this today. I really NEED and want my actions to speak louder than my words. I am so embarrassed and saddened at the type of actions I have shown my kiddo's and my hubby lately. Hmmm ... let's see ... anger, impatience, disappointment, frustration ... those are all actions that have come from me recently. :( I want to show love, patience, grace and kindness .. sometimes it is so incredibly difficult. Thank you Charity for reminding me once again with your post. I love you sweet squooshie!

God Bless you and your family.

Brooke said...

As we usher in the era of "discipline" and teaching, this was so important for me to read... we are trying so hard to be the parents God wants us to be... only by His grace!

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