“Look, Mom, look at my worm!”
I poked my head out the backdoor, to see Trey holding up a rather spindly-looking worm.
“Nice worm, Trey.”
“Can I eat it?” The look on his face was somewhere between revulsion and hope.
“Sure, go ahead.” I said.
The look on his face went to surprise.
“Well, I wouldn't eat it, but if you want to try it for yourself...”
Eyebrow raised, Trey looked at the worm. Gingerly, he put it up to his mouth. I tried not to hurl.
As it touched his lips and he opened his mouth, I thought, 'Oh my goodness, he's really going to eat it!
The tip of his tongue touched the worm. I cringed.
“Blech! Eew!' Trey began rubbing his hands over his mouth, the worm falling unharmed to the ground.
“How did it taste, buddy?” I worked to keep my tone relaxed, and my face straight.
In my limited mom experience, I've come to the conclusion that my son does best when he learns by doing. Many times I'll hear parents say, 'Don't do _______ ,you could ______.' and I'm sad for the child and the lost opportunity to let kids learn by doing. (I realize that there are times when safety comes first. But sometimes, let's admit, it's more about inconvenience, or worry what other people will think, than what is actually good for the children.)
You know what I love about God? He knows that our tendency is to 'eat the worm'. And he gives us direction and guidance, and sometimes just lets us experience life, knowing that our decision may not be healthy or helpful or even a good idea. But he gives the space to eat the worm, and come back to him and say, 'So... that wasn't what I thought it would be... What was it you told me to do God?' And he smiles and loves us.
It's one of the reasons I appreciate the bible. Can you imagine trying to follow the direction of a silent God? When we're looking at our worms, we can pray, hearing from the Holy Spirit, or we can open our bibles to know exactly what God thinks about the choice we are making.
(Google is a cool bible study/search help. I don't have my bible memorized and sometimes I need to know what God thinks. I can type my choices into Google: Bible verses about gossiping... or Bible verses about conflict... or Bible verses about.... Well, you get the drift.)
Today, God wants to encourage you to find out what he thinks before you eat the worm. It could save you from having to deal with the fallout of a really yucky consequence!
The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you're thinking and planning except you yourself?
The same with God—except that he not only knows what he's thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions.
We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.
1 Corinthians 2:10-13 MSG
"What's wrong?" Tom asked.
"It's raining. Again! My walk will be canceled... I was really looking forward to it." I sighed and picked up the phone, ready to commiserate with Kathy on our disappointment.
"Well, it's not raining down here," she said. "Hasn't rained for almost two hours."
I was reminded again that what happens on top of our mountain isn't always what is happening down in the valley.
Sometimes our lives are like that. We 'see' one set of circumstances, completely unaware that on a spiritual level there may be a very different reality. In terms of faith, what our physical eyes see may not be the spiritual truth. The easiest way around this is by using our spiritual eyes: discernment. Wisdom and discernment are our secret decoder lens you might say. When we view our life through the lens of discernment and wisdom, it takes on a very different look. We begin to see a depth that otherwise we might have missed.
I'm reminded of that when I am training Trey. My earthly concern is that he be obedient, not because I want to control him, but because I want to keep him safe and exercise the 'muscle' of learning to listen and respond.
On a spiritual level, his obedience to me will help him later in life because as adults we are asked to be obedient to God as well. I want him well-prepared and ready to listen and obey when God speaks to him. I explain to him that it's important that he choose to be obedient to Mom and Dad, because he will use that 'muscle' later on with God. I explain that Moms and Dads need to listen and be obedient to God as well.
Today, God wants to encourage you that your life is more than what you see with your earthly eyes, and He wants you to consider the spiritual world as well as your immediate surroundings. He wants you to know that He's here, in your life, and you can pray for discernment and wisdom to see life through His lens.
"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ..." Philippians 1:9-10
"My friend!" Trey threw his arms around the little boy, and they both grinned. Long, lost buddies, they hadn't seen each other for the 30 seconds it had taken them to walk from one ride to the next.
The two almost-four year old boys had met just a few minutes before at the bouncy house. Outgoing and friendly, they swapped names and laughed until their sides split.
At the huge slide, the other little boy froze at the top. "No, like this," Trey insisted as he attempted to peel the his friends' hands off the railings and push him down. (We rescued the boy.)
Later on at the merry-go-round of cars, Trey's friend showed him how to outrace the pretty little girl behind them.
The little boys made the most of the their new found friendship, and both sets of parents marveled and enjoyed the freedom of their innocence.
I have a personal goal of leaving a smile on the face of each service person I come in contact with. There's something so rewarding about seeing a tired checkout girl's face light up when I compliment her earrings, or a young man stand a little taller when I tell him how much I respect him for the excellent service he provides.
How about approaching a young mom with children in tow at the park and complimenting something about her mothering skills? Watch her just glow.
Today, God wants to encourage you to find someone you can bless with your friendship. You may never see them again once you step out of Starbucks, or the grocery check-out, or the elevator. But a kind word, compliment, acknowledgement, or gratitude can showcase Jesus' love in a way that no sermon ever can.
"Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out." Colossians 4:5-6
Have thirty seconds to spare? Use it to build someone up. And if you really want to make the most of those opportunities, have a small business card ready with your name and email in case they want to find out more about your church or your bible study, or your young moms organization.
You'll be surprised how many new friends you can make!
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)