Listen The First Time
When my sons were younger, I often felt it was important to give them choices. I had read numerous parental books on how young ones need to feel they have some control in their lives. Thus, being so much smarter than my toddlers, I would give them “staged” choices when I asked them to do something. To illustrate, my boys had a choice to listen to me the first time and result A would happen, or they could choose to not listen to me and result B would follow. Usually, result B was an appropriate consequence while result A kept family harmony. Moreover, with a keen sense of guidance (or trickery-depending on who you ask: me or them), I discovered a way to give them choices where either option would be acceptable. Some examples: “Would you like chicken or pasta? (flashback: to my days as a Flight Attendant) Do you want to go to the park or pool? Do you love mommy or daddy more”? (Just kidding-making sure you are paying attention).
Wisely, God deals with us in a similar manner. We have free will and many times in our lives, we will be presented with choices: enter the broad/wide gate or choose the narrow/small gate (Matthew 7:13-14); serve God or serve the idols of this world (Joshua 24:15); eat the desirable, forbidden apple or don’t touch it (Genesis 3:6-7).
Recently, I was presented with a choice at work, I clearly heard the Holy Spirit lovingly prompt me to ask a co-worker if I could “shadow” her on the trauma that was coming into the hospital. Since I am a new employee, I had not yet been exposed to one, therefore, it would have been beneficial for me to have an experienced person to follow. In a brief moment of insecurity and fear, I chose not to obey His voice--in fact, I ignored it and silently walked away.
Don’t give up on me yet, the story is not over. God did not let me off the hook so easily. A few days later, as another trauma was arriving, I walked past my nurse manager who directed me to, “Grab a work phone and report downstairs to the trauma.” Yikes! No co-worker, no experience, and NO CHOICE…
God loves us, and we are His children. He is the author (indirectly) of all those parental books I read, and whether we like it or not, there are times when He says, “You can choose to listen to Me the first time, which will be a lot easier for you, or you can find out the hard way”. In the end, He has a plan for each one of us, and in His infinite wisdom, He will find a way to lead us in that direction.
**Answers: Narrow, God, and DON’T! –😊