Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gently Rebuked in Blogworld!

I read A LOT of things on any given day. I usually print up all the blog posts I want to read as well as a copious amount of 'research' I am doing. In all of this reading I read some really good things.
Things that encourage, enlighten, and convict. Every now and again I read something that the Lord uses to deeply speak to my heart. I don't mean just a little, that happens often, I am talking about being grabbed by both shoulders and shaken up a bit.

Do you know what I mean?

Something you just can't stop thinking about and praying about?!

I don't know if this will rock your world like it did mine. We all have our 'own little load of oppressive faults' (Gal. 6:5 ;-), but maybe it will bless you too. It spoke right to where I am and what the Lord is teaching me.

If you have a chance, go and read this. I would love to know what your thoughts are if you have time to come back here and comment.
Let me know if it affected you also.


Mrs. Parunak said...

Thank you for your very sweet words, Michelle!

The Lord has been grabbing me by both shoulders about this, too, and WOW do I have a long way to go!!!

Civilla said...

That was great. I copied over to you the comment I left on her post:

"That was really wonderful. I used to feel convicted about that when my children were still at home. Now that they are grown, “The days are long and hard to fill; I wish that I could do, the little things you asked me to,” like that poem says.

Now, I am sometimes the one who has to obey my sons (yes!) and I don’t always do it the first time. I’m remembering the time my son ordered me not to use Firefox internet, because it is less protected. I kept using it anyway, even though he is an adult and the computer expert. I heard him fiddling around at the computer one day, and then he said, “There! Now you can’t use it!” and I realized that he had taken Firefox away from me permanently by deleting it from the computer, knowing that I don’t have the computer skills to put it back! Boy, have the tables turned.

I also wonder what the Lord thinks when we don’t obey him quietly and swiftly the first time He asks us to do something for Him!

Good post! (I have to type in: suffer systems to get this comment to take!)"

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. I left her a comment! Even with adult children I believe this still stands!!

Brazen Hussey's said...

Oh man! Thanks for linking to that Michelle. It was very convicting for me. It also goes hand in hand with some issues that my husband has been exhorting me on. Painful words, when they pierce your conscience. But, the blows of a friend are always better than the kisses of an enemy. Even bloggy friends!


Momofsix said...

What a wonderful insight. Thank you for sharing it!

Missy said...

I just found your blog your children are beautiful you are truly blessed!

Molly Aley said...

I have a question...

I've read all the materials that advocate first time "instant" obedience, and, yes, they sound good to my motherly ears. :) But here is where I really struggle: I compare the first-time obedience teaching to the Word of God and I come away with...thinking that first-time obedience is a nice training tool, but that's it.

Over and over I read in my Bible that God is concerned with hearts first and actions second. He commended the son who obeyed eventually (not instantly). He commended the city of Ninevah for obeying eventually---did not discipline them for their long years of disobedience but rejoiced over them for their eventual turning.

It seems to me that the focus on instant obedience is a focus that comes more from a focus on the way things look outwardly, not inwardly.

I struggle, because as a momma, of course I want good obedient kids (which, though they're full of activity and energy, they are good and obedient and I'm regularly complimented on them).

But I've stopped spanking my kids when their obedience is not instant. I just felt a check in my Spirit about that teaching, confirmed it in the Scriptures and haven't missed it a bit. There's a little more grace in the house how, a little less outward perfection but a little more "relaxedness" that makes the whole flavor of the house ever so much better.

Obedience is not conditional, don't get me wrong. But I don't mind counting to three or reminding a child twice if that's what it takes---or, for the little ones, offering to "help" them obey.

I can't remember where I read it, but another blogger who was also thinking about this subject essentially said, "I would absolutely hate it if my husband swatted me everytime I didn't jump at his every command. It wouldn't motivate me towards a heart of obedience---it would motivate me to obedience-by-fear-of-punishment...either that, or just growing a seething angry rebellion in my heart."

My other concern is something a dear dear friend of mine (mom of ten with AWESOME kids, who also happens to be a political historian of sorts and so had some great thoughts to bring to the mix when we were talking about this subject!) that this is the kind of thing that cults and evil nations do, this "don't think, just obey instantly" stuff. I know it was practiced in the Communist training schools, the Hitler camps, and is practiced (on children AND adults) in almost every authoritarian cult.

I don't want to train my kids to obey authority figures without question---even if that authority figure is me. I want them to obey, and little ones just need to learn that, but as they get old enough (the grade school years and up) I want them to start involving their mind in obeying my commands. I talk to them about that, that mommy is just a human, that obedience is fantastic but only if it's obedience to God.

Whenever a human being is "playing God" and expecting absolute obedience without question, there is a real problem. Scripture supports obeying authority figures, provided they are obeying the Lord...

I hope all of this makes sense. I don't mean to argue---this is all something I've really thought hard about, especially because the instant-obedience teachings threaten us momma's that if we don't follow their teachings, we are essentially helping our kids go to hell or something (groaning laugh).

I have to say, after having done both, I like the atmosphere in our home so much better now that instant obedience is not practiced. Sadly, my oldest child has brought up some stories of our instant-obedience days, of the way it made her feel, the fear that she felt... Oh, just heartbreaking stuff that we moms basically don't want to hear... Ugh. (I had no idea, then, of course. I was just doing what I thought was the right thing to do).

Well, thank you for listening to this and I hope it isn't too rambly. I just wanted to bring up some thoughts from someone who has stopped practicing instant-obedience training. I'm just concerned that a lot of it is not actually Scripture based. That's not to say it doesn't have Scripture verses used to support it, but rahter that it leaves OUT a lot of Scripture passages that emphatically do NOT support instant-obedience.

Above all, I think of how God parents me. He is so very very patient. Obedience is not optional with Him, no, not at all, but He is so gracious and long-suffering with me, and certainly does not practice instant-obedience on my spirit. I am so thankful for Him. If He demanded instant obedience and punished every time I failed, it wouldn't take long until my spirit was crushed beyond recognition.

Much Love--

Michelle said...

Hi Molly,
Thanks for your comment! A couple of thoughts...I agree that 'first time obedience' is a nice 'training tool'also. I also agree that God is concerned more with our heart! See my post about this.

I do believe first time obedience is desired, but not at the expense of the the heart. I think Mrs. Parunak would agree. I don't think she was debating the merits of 'first-time obedience' as much as she was examining her own heart.

We also focused way too much on the outward obedience in those early years and have our own sad stories ;-) We have come to a place where much more grace is in place. We still train for obedience, but stive to extend the same mercy and grace the Lord extends towards us in our failures.

Your comment is very well worded and my prayer is that parents who have swung too far into authoritarian parenting would find balance between expecting obedience and extending mercy.

What really spoke to me in Mrs. Parunak's post, and maybe I should have shared more in my post, are the parts about me being lazy or selfish and unwilling to stop my 'playing' to obey God's call for me to train. I expect them to obey when I choose to keep doing my own thing.

Also, 'consistency' was always my reasoning behind why I fall down on the job as Mama, almost an excuse. I was convicted that it is selfishness and laziness that stops me, not some strange inabliltiy to be consistent.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Michelle said...

Yes, I can relate. Mine really is laziness...because I just don't want to get up and correct...right away.

and the cheerful heart is hard too. I mean, how cheerful can I be when I'm telling teh same thing for the 5th time in a row?

Seven Sisters said...

All I can say is...OUCH! God has already been showing me areas that I'm not being what I want my children to be!

And I agree that we can misuse the "first time obedience" issues, I think that article got to the heart of it. It's not about "spanking them" into first time obedience, but stopping what we are doing to deal with the heart!



Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

OK, so that was totally convicting.

Thanks for sharing this!