By Bethany L. Douglas
Original publication Nov 26, 2016
My boys are the best disobedient helpers ever! They have mastered it completely.
We put up Christmas at our house yesterday and my 4-year old was feverishly jumping between me and Gabe in an effort to “help” us decorate. Our ‘Little Napoleon’, as you’ve heard me call him, has an opinion on just about everything you can have an opinion on- regardless of whether he knows (or has even SEEN) what he’s talking about. But the child also likes to help, and is never short on advice (again, regardless of his experience on the subject). Despite that, he has a servant’s heart and he is a helper, though I think he likes the IDEA of helping much more than the actual helping.
Because more often than not, helping involves doing something I’ve told him to do- he has to do it MY way and obey ME. And many times, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.
Take for instance, putting up the lights on the house. Jesse was ecstatic when I told him he could help his daddy put them up. I’m positive he was sure I meant that he would be on the ladder, putting up each light in just exactly the places he thought they should go. I’m also equally positive that standing next to daddy on the ladder while holding a string of lights off the ground was NOT his idea of helping.
But it WAS helping… or at least it would have been helpful…
As with most 4-year olds, his version of helping lasted all of about 2 minutes, at which point he dropped the lights and proceeded to complain that I wouldn’t let him help.
“Mommy I want to HELP!” (strong emphasis on the HEEEELLLLPPP!)
“Jesse, if you want to help mommy, you have to do what I ask you to do. I already gave you a job.”
“But I’m helping NOW,” he stated as he gently dumped over an entire box of lights onto the ground. “I’m going to help daddy put these up!”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself telling my children that if they want to help, they have to DO what I tell them to DO. THAT is the most helpful thing to me. It does me no good to tell them to clean their toy room and I find they have made their beds instead. It’s nice, it’s great they did that…. but that’s not doing what I told and needed them to do.
It’s not helpful.
Or if they want to help me with cooking, but won’t follow the instructions- again, not helpful. Helping involves following someone else’s orders. It assumes a certain humility during the act of service. Putting aside one’s own prerogatives and following another’s commands is innate to being an obedient helper… and therefore a USEFUL helper.
I imagine God is no different. If He tells me to do something and I don’t, even if I do something else righteous or good or noble in it’s place- I’m still being disobedient. And I’m not being helpful to anyone at that point. God cannot use people that refuse to obey what He wants them to do, regardless of how much they may want to ‘help’.
Part of what I’m trying to teach my kids is that HELPING involves OBEYING. That’s a hard-fought lesson from me, and no less a hard-fought lesson FOR me.
I’m sure it’s no coincidence that every.single.time I have to tell them, “If you want to help me, please just do what I ask!” God’s voice echoes back in my ears. Ugh! Raising kids shines so much light on my own walk! Funny how that works….
Search your actions today dear one, are you walking in obedience?
Are you being a useful helper?
Thank you for taking the time to read my heart today. Please comment below with thoughts and ruminations of where your walk is today. Please share and follow if this blesses you!
To read more from Bethany, visit her at http://www.helicoptermom.org/