"It's my life. I can do what I want," said my youngest daughter yesterday as she tried to persuade me that she didn't need to go to school.
"The state of Kansas and your mother say you have to go to school," I replied.
"But I don't want to," she said.
My daughter is really unhappy at school these days. She doesn't want to get out of bed. It's a struggle to get her out the door. We're considering some different things for next year (which is another post for another day), but right now, she has to go to school. As her mom, I know the best thing for her in this moment is for her to go to school every day.
The conversation we had yesterday, though, reminded me of how I sometimes act when God tells me to do something. I stomp my feet and dig in my heels. "It's my life. I can do what I want," I cry. "I don't want to," I tell God. Sometimes, I'm simply a whiny child.
The truth is, our lives are not our own. When we decided to follow Jesus, we decided to put our lives in His hand, to live our lives the way He wants us to live. And that means surrendering our will to His. 2 Chronicles 30:8 says, "Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord."
As we parent our children, teaching them about God and how to live a life fully surrendered to Him, we have to keep in mind that our lives are not our own. Sometimes that means we walk down paths we never thought we'd walk. Sometimes that means we choose a different method of doing something. Sometimes it means we walk away from an opportunity that seems good but isn't the best.
Teaching our kids to follow God's plan for their lives starts with learning to follow God's plan for our own lives. Our children will learn what they see. If they see us seeking God when we make decisions, if they see us choosing God's way even when it's hard, if they see us saying no even to good things so we can have the better thing God has planned for us, then they will learn to do the same.
We all remember to seek God in the big decisions, but it's a lifestyle of seeking Him in the little decisions that truly teaches our kids to follow Him. Help your kids seek God in the big and the little decisions by teaching them to pray before making a decision. Let them hear you pray about the decisions in your life.
The truth is that we can talk to our kids about surrendering to God and His plan, but if they never see that in action in our lives, we're just giving them empty words. What do you need to surrender to God today so that you can be more effective in teaching your kids to surrender to Him?