I feel as if I am reliving the same day over and over again. Within that concept lies another underlying problem. I’m also repeating the same things over and over again. “What did I just say?”, “Are you even listening to me?”, “How many times do I have to tell you?” are just a few of those sayings on repeat to two toddlers.
Not only am I reliving this moment by moment, day by day, but I am reliving the frustration and impatience with it all. I figure, they know these things. I’ve modeled these things to them. Yet they still don’t do it! Other words, why can’t they just match what I do and be like me?!
Simply put, that’s an expectation that’s unachievable. The reality is that they’re toddlers. They have a short attention span. They have not yet acquired maturity. They may have knowledge of something, but they have not received the ability to carry out that knowledge. Because the growth process entails taking time. I train, guide, and correct them until they are transformed in such a way that mirrors the potential for who and what they can be. And it’ll be a continual process.
This requires more than just knowing something in their mind. They have to understand it with their heart. Take my son for example. He is completely obsessed with construction vehicles, tractors, emergency vehicles, etc. He both knows and understands about them because he loves them so much! On the flip side, he knows about his sister’s kitty obsession, but he doesn’t understand it because it’s not something he thoroughly enjoys.
I realized the implication this had on my walk with Christ. I was striving so hard to match what I knew about Jesus. I was so hard on myself every single time I failed. On my own I could not think, say, do, and behave in such a way that mirrored Jesus. So I loathed in my condemning thoughts. “I’m just never going to be or do enough!”
Simply put, that’s an expectation that’s unachievable. I’m not meant to match Jesus, to think, say, do, and behave all in my own efforts. Only, I live through Him. I love how The Passion Translation says it like this:
“The light of God’s love shined within us when he sent his matchless Son into the world so that we might live through him“.- 1 John 4:9
I was, then, reminded of the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with His disciples (Matthew 14:13-21). At this point, the disciples knew Jesus could perform miracles. Jesus had modeled miracles before their very eyes. Then, in the very next chapter, (Matthew 15:32-39) Jesus calls His disciples to feed a different 4,000. Their response? “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” [-Seriously!] Sounds familiar, right?
The reality is, just like those disciples, I have not fully figured it all out. I still have to attend to Jesus. I still have maturity to acquire in Him. And while I may have knowledge of Him, I have to allow Him to help me carry out that knowledge. It’s done by gaining that understanding through deep revelation within my heart that only He can provide.
“These people honor me only with their words, for their hearts are so very distant from me. They pretend to worship me, but their worship is nothing more than the empty traditions of men.” Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “Come, listen and open your heart to understand.”– Matthew 15:8-10 (TPT) [emphasis mine]
And it’s a growth process (aka: sanctification). He trains, guides, and corrects me as I surrender to Him and His word. Moment by moment, day by day…
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
…until I’m transformed in such a way that mirrors the potential for who and what I can be in Him.
But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.- 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT)
No longer do I have to feel frustrated and impatient when my children don’t follow through with my instruction or perform to meet my expectations. Nor do I have to feel frustrated and impatient with myself when I don’t follow “having a mind like Christ” or performing like “Christ lives in me”. That type of thinking leads to striving and results in condemning thoughts. Right now, I surrender all those expectations.
I thoroughly enjoy the word of God and love Him- just as my son loves his machines! Which means I have the ability to both know and understand who Jesus is in me. I can trust His sanctifying work that is declared in Galatians 2:20, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
To my children, to myself, and to anyone who can relate to my circumstances: “Come, listen and open your heart to understand”.
The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.- 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NIV).