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Posts tagged ‘choose’

I was listening to Revive our Hearts yesterday, and the speaker quoted from the book The Life of Helen Keller.¬†After describing the scene where Anne Sullivan taught Helen to eat like a civilized creature (if you’ve seen either of the “Miracle Worker” movies, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; if not, either watch one or read the book!), Anne goes on to say something very profound:

I saw clearly that it was useless to try to teach Helen language or anything else until she learned to obey me. I thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child.

I don’t know how to improve on that, so I’ll just recommend that you read it again, 2 or 3 times, and let its meaning really sink in.

Yesterday I had a battle with Manny. Not near as big as Anne had with Helen, but it was something. Lately he has not wanted to eat any cereal except the chocolate-covered “Koala Crisps” (which are gluten-free and actually have nothing he is allergic to in them, which is why I buy them and give them to him occasionally). Trying to get him to eat anything else for supper is a battle. So last night I decided to try something different.

When I offered him the food, I told him clearly that he had a choice to make. He could either choose to eat cheerfully, or he could stand in the corner. He hates standing in the corner, by the way. But he chose not to eat, so by default he chose the corner. I put him there and worked nearby, watching him closely. If he turned around and looked at me, I would remind him to put his nose in the corner. Of course this made him cry again, but I persisted. I started him out at 2 minutes, then offered to let him eat. When he said no, I went 2 1/2 minutes. Then 3 minutes. Then 3 1/2. Each time I offered him the food, showing it to him, and letting him choose between eating and the corner. He tried to interject other options, like “nigh nigh” (going to bed), but I would not allow those options.

I am not sure how long it took, but we were up to 5 minutes between choices, and finally he chose to eat. He said, “Eat, eat,” so I put him in his chair, poured hemp milk on the puffed millet that I had coated with carob powder, and offered him the spoon. He ate the whole thing cheerfully, and was delighted to get some grapes afterwards!

Not only was this a great victory, but Daddy noticed later that evening that he was more compliant and less demanding. I think I have hit on something here.

The truth is, I have been very neglecting of my child training lately. But I have also neglected my walk with the Lord. In the past few weeks, I have been going through a period of revival, which always results in reformation if it is genuine. And this week the Lord convicted me that it was time to start working on my child training. I have been praying for wisdom, because Manny has some serious issues, and he’s too young to reason with, and I let some things get too far. But thanks to this victory yesterday, I am beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But it’s a very long tunnel! At least, it feels like it! But God is my guide, and I know I will win as long as I remain with Him.

Yesterday I shared some of the things I did to fortify myself against failure in the Christian walk. Besides making the obvious commitment to daily Bible study and prayer, I chose a prayer/accountability partner to encourage and pray for me, and to help keep me accountable in certain areas. I feel this is important because, as I shared, sin thrives in darkness and concealment, but loses much of it’s power in the light (See John 3:19, 20).

Today I want to share how the Lord took me deeper. You see, it was good that I stopped resisting Him. But just saying “Lord, take my life” is not enough. There must be a continual surrender to God’s will. Here is where my past failures came from. I would say, “Lord, take my heart.” But then when He would ask me to give up some cherished idol, I would resist. And that resistance would sooner or later separate me from God.

So within a day of my initial surrender, I began to sense the Lord asking me to lay some things on the altar. Things like how much time I spend on the internet. (Yes, with it in the house, and especially with the iPod, it is a very real and powerful temptation again.)

So I asked my prayer partner to help keep me accountable and pray for me in this area.

Next I realized that I had let my eBay business take over my life. I needed to spend less time on it and more time working with my children. So I laid that on the altar as well.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still struggle with my time online and to an extent with eBay (some days it is more of a challenge than others); but I am trying to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s call to my heart, telling me when I’ve done enough or need to do something else. It’s nice to be able to make some spending money, but I cannot let the love of money (or even the need for it) control me.

Another area, related to the one, is the issue of how I use my spare time. I am beginning to realize that how we use our spare moments says a lot about who we are.

There is this blog that I was reading. It was funny and mostly harmless, but I had become somewhat obsessed with it. I wanted to read all the archives (over 2 years’ worth of almost daily posts), and had only a few months’ worth to go when the Lord brought it up to me. He pointed out that not only was I not learning anything of eternal value there, but it occasionally had content that was not really appropriate for a Christian to view–content that I would be embarrassed to be caught viewing if Jesus were to walk into the room. Since I had so few posts left (relatively speaking) to finish it, at first I thought I would just look at a post here and there in my spare time. But I began to see the negative effect of even moderate viewing (as opposed to sitting down for an hour to read a couple months’ worth, like I had done), and the Lord called to my heart again.

This time He asked me to surrender the whole blog, to be willing never to go there again. And at the same time, He also asked me not to check my email every time I had a spare moment–or my texting program, or whatever other little innocent thing that I might do with my iPod when I had a few moments to myself. Not that I could never use a spare moment to check my email, but I realized that I needed to try to use the majority of them for something of more eternal value. Like read a Bible promise, or take a moment to pray for someone or something, or read a couple of paragraphs from an inspirational book. So I surrendered the blog and the use of my spare time. And I have found that doing this has led me to love the things of the Lord more. It also is helpful to keep my mind focused on the Lord, and to make up for a not-as-long-as-I-would-have-liked quiet time in the morning. And I don’t miss that blog. Not one bit. I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

One side benefit (if you could call it that) of guarding my spare moments has been an increased sensitivity to the Spirit’s voice speaking to my conscience. As I open my heart up to God, inviting Him into more and more of my day, I begin to hear Him speaking to me in a very personal way. For instance, the other night I was typing this very post on my iPod, and when the time came to turn it off and go to bed, there was a temptation to just keep going with it under the covers, where it wouldn’t bother my husband. After all, I was doing something spiritual, not just reading stories like I had done in the past (yes, under the covers, late into the night, I am ashamed to say). But the Lord called to my conscience. He reminded me that even a good thing late at night was a bad thing. And He asked me to surrender and leave the iPod on the nightstand. I surrendered. And even though I didn’t get to sleep for at least an hour, I stayed firm to my resolve, and I didn’t regret it. I knew I would be able to pick up my train of thought and finish the post without any problem. And I did. I doubt you can tell where exactly I stopped. (Hint: It was in this paragraph.)

As I continue to spend time in God’s Word, and to listen to God’s voice directing me, I will be come more sensitive to His leading in my life. But if I choose to go against what I know to be right, then I will let go of God’s hand and be right back where I was before. Or worse. I don’t want that to happen again!

There is so much more I could write in this series, but I think this is a good place to stop. Thank you for reading. I pray you have been challenged.

Tomorrow I will share about another book that has made a big impact on me spiritually. So watch for that post.