The other day, I witnessed a small boy (about three-years-old), professing his desire to “Do it myself,” in a voice that reaches face squenching octaves. He was determined to put his own shoe on without help from anyone. I remember thinking to myself, “Yep, he’s at that independent stage.”
All children go through it. The stage where they want to do everything for themselves. It is a stressful time for parents because a) we are usually in a hurry and they are not; b) they usually have no clue what they’re doing and will fight and throw a fit through it until finally they need you to do it for them. But, the process is crucial to their development and learning.
A Wednesday evening in women’s class at church, our wonderful teacher for the night brought a verse to our attention:
This is what the Lord says: I will go before you, Cyrus (try inserting your name here), and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. Isaiah 45:2
Our teacher used an illustration of running a relay race. That when God starts a good work in you (Philippians 1:6), it is like you grabbing the baton (the work) and running ahead of God. Not allowing God to run ahead of you, prevents Him from being able to level the mountains you will face, or to smash the gates in your way.
I got a picture in my head of feeling defeated and weary, then 1 Corinthians 13:11 flashed into my head, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
Back to the toddler throwing a fit because he didn’t want anyone to help him…
When I decide to do it myself and not ask God for help (grabbing the baton and running ahead), because a) I am in a hurry and want it done in my time, I end up doing it all wrong and I get frustrated and stressed. Finally, when I can’t stand the pressure any longer, I ask for help, and amazingly, He swoops in and helps. It is time to move away from those childish things and ask for help before it gets bad.
If you are feeling run down and weary in an area of your life, I encourage you to surrender it to God and allow Him to run ahead of you. In this way, you will be able to do the important stuff rather than dealing with the things you don’t have to deal with.
It is important to spend time with your child talking about God. Here is a little extension, to the above devotional, that you can do with your child.
Ask: Who is your favorite hero from the Bible?
Listen: Allow them to answer, or if they can’t think of one, review a few with them.
Say: Did you know that all of the heroes of the Bible were successful because they asked God for help and then allowed Him to help them?
Ask: Can you think of a time when you needed help with something but didn’t want to ask for help?
Listen: As your child talks about his fears or limitations to asking for help.
Say: It isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help, it is actually a sign of strength. When you ask for help, it allows you to learn and grow as God wants you to. It also teaches you to rely fully on Him so he can help you be the best ______________ (insert name) you can be. However, sometimes He sends people to do His work for Him.
Ask: Who are some people that God might use to help you? (teachers, parents, friends, etc.)
Read: Psalm 107:28-30, “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.”
Psalm 121:2, My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
Post these verses in your child’s room, or in a central location. Help your child memorize them so they can recall them when needed. If they do not understand a word in the verses, explain it, and have them repeat it to you to check their understanding.
Pray: Father, thank you for being a good God that will help us. Guide us to remember to ask you or one of your messengers for help, even when we really don’t want to. Also, please lead us on how we may show our friends to ask you for help too, or how we can help them. In Jesus name we pray, amen.