I was shocked at the language my three year old had just used. Moriah!? This is the girl who argues with everything. Just because she can.
“Moriah, you are so beautiful.” “No, I’m not.” (Completely confident in her denial.)
“Moriah, you are very smart.” “Noooo! I’m not. (Emphatically shaking her head.)
“Moriah, we’re having eggs for lunch.” “NO! I don’t want dat.” (Brows furrowed and voice raised.)
So, when I told her to get in her seat so she could eat lunch, I was literally shocked by her response.
“Ok, Mom. I will.” (Head tilted, sing song voice, smiling sweetly.) And. She. Climbed. Up. Into. Her. Seat.
I stared at her. Then caught myself, and started uproariously praising her for her good attitude. What in the world had happened?! Had all my hard discipline work and constant verbal correction paid off?? Had I finally broken down the wall of brick wall of opposition!?? I nearly wanted to scream for joy!
As lunch was nearing its messy end, I brought it up again (didn’t want to lose momentum, you know).
“So, Moriah. Do you remember that thing that you did a while ago? You know… when I asked you to do something and you said, ‘Ok, Mom. I will.’?” I tried my best to duplicate the cutsie voice she had used.
“Yeeeaaaahhhh.” She looked at me out of the corner of her eyes, hovering over her bowl, her mouth covered with food.
“Well, that was AWESOME.” (More uproarious praise. Big smiley face so she can see how much awesomeness it was.) I was so impressed with you! You didn’t argue, you didn’t complain, you didn’t cry, you didn’t pretend that you were incapable of climbing into the seat or that you didn’t know how to feed yourself or that you couldn’t hold a fork or that suddenly your leg hurt or that you had to go to the bathroom… (oh yes, she may be just three but her creativity in how she chooses to disobey is astonishing)… you just obeyed Mommy with a GOOD ATTITUDE!!” (Another ridiculously large smiley face and exaggerated mommy-head-nod.)
She smiled, pleased with herself, and began to repeat the phrase over and over again. “Ok, Mom. I will. (Big smile.) Like dat? Ok, Mom. I will. Mom, are you sooo impessed wif me? Are you so pwoud of me? Ok, Mom. I will.”
I assured her that I was truly impressed. It felt like it was the first time that she had ever voluntarily agreed to happily do something that she always fought me on. And the relief of not having to “wage war” was like instant sweetness to me. It made my day. I was so happy that she had voluntarily and happily obeyed the first time that I also gave her some of what she really wanted to eat. And I think she even surprised herself when she found out how good her quick obedience made her feel.
I was thinking about it later that day when I heard a soft voice in my spirit say, “That’s how it feels.” And it occurred to me that the Lord must feel such a sweet joy when we obey instantly and happily. How many hidden blessings have we missed because we argued or wrestled with what He wanted us to do… only to be forced to give in finally. There’s a lack of peace until the decision to obey has finally been made. We feel frustrated…maybe a little ashamed that we didn’t do it earlier. We were “waging war” against Him and didn’t even realize it.
So, how beautiful would it be... if, the instant He asked, we said, “Ok, God. I will.”? (Head tilt and sing song voice are optional.)