“What do you want me to do?!”
Alligator tears roll down her soft cheeks, her blue eyes swimming with a mixture of frustration and sorrow.
“I want you to obey.”
“I don’t know how to obey!” she wailed, flinging herself down on the floor in fantastic Disney Princess fashion.
“But if you listen to me, you will hear exactly what you need to do to obey and when you obey me, things will go well with you.”
Oh the mournful sobs. Being five is hard. It’s hard, people!
Being 32 is hard too.
I have my own Disney Princess moments where I fling myself onto my bed, dramatically sighing with such force that the air pressure of the room changes. I bemoan how difficult it is to obey, how I don’t waaaannnna do this or I’m not goooonnnaa do that. Sometimes I cry, other times I pout. Sometimes…sshhh…I toss out a few four letter words for good effect.
All in private, of course. Wouldn’t want anyone to know I do that, you know?
Today I received a phone call as I was just on the cusp of a full blown Disney Princess moment. I was working up to it. It was slowly simmering and boiling and I was ready for a full out drama fest. Hand on the forehead, fist clutched to my chest, “Oh my,” flop to the floor in a heap of hefty sobs.
And then the phone rang. And a friend shared Jeremiah 42-43 with me. You know the passage, right? You don’t? I didn’t either. The Isrealites go to Jeremiah and ask him to pray to God on their behalf. They want to flee from Babylon to Egypt and they want God’s confirmation. So Jeremiah does what they ask and he comes back with the Lord’s answer.
“Don’t go. Stay here and I will bless you. I will show you compassion and favor. Don’t be afraid. Trust me.”
Ah, but they didn’t like that answer, you see. Because they had already purposed in their hearts to go. They weren’t really looking for God’s answer – they just wanted a little justification for their actions. And in the end, they chose to go their own way. The way that seemed easier to them. Because staying in Babylon? That was too scary, too hard. No. Going to Egypt felt right…it felt better.
Things didn’t go well with them.
We are constantly drilling Ephesians 6:1-3 into our children’s heads: “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise) so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the Earth.”
They hear that a lot. So much so that I can guarantee when they are all young adults, they will probably sit around the dinner table and make fun of us for it, rolling their eyes and laughing. Hopefully in a good-natured way, of course. I can see it in my head, like a movie reel.
“Hey, remember when Mom and Dad used to tell us to obey them so it things would go well with us?”
“Aaaaww, yeah, that drove me nuts.”
Then they laugh and all take turns telling us every reason why they love us and why they’re thankful for our constant discipline as they grew up. They tell us how right we were and laud us for pouring so much of ourselves into them in their formative years. They do this while giving us each back massages and presenting us with lavish gifts because they are just so thankful for their upbringing.
This vision of mine may have spiraled slightly into the realm of fantasy, but whatever – I like it.
No matter what your age, obedience is hard. And it’s not always fun. Just because Tia feels ready to ride her two wheeler to the park a mile down the road, doesn’t mean she should do it. When I tell her no, she needs to obey even if she doesn’t want to. When Sloan wants to play with the boys down the street and I tell him no because I’m not sure who their parents are, he has to obey, even though he doesn’t understand.
“Things will go well with you if you obey.”
Sometimes that’s the only excuse I can give.
And sometimes it’s the only excuse I get. Some decisions seem scary and hard and big and…
It would be so much easier to just move in the direction that feels good enough. The one that’s easy. But the hard decision, the one you feel in your heart is right even if it’s scary, sometimes that’s the safest place to be. And there’s no sense throwing a Disney sized fit about it. Trust and obey and things will go well with you. This is where freedom sets in.
And that’s a good thing because the drama filled life of a Disney Princess gets exhausting. Who wants to be stuck wearing ball gowns and glass slippers all the time, right?
To the friend who gave me that timely phone call today…I thank you from the bottom of my heart for pointing me to this scripture. If I could sing you a Disneyesque song in true Princess fashion, I so totally would.