I wonder if your mother was like mine. I remember that when I was a teenager, and she wanted me to do something that I wasn’t keen on doing, she had a way of convincing me that my actions were going to be on my own head.
First, she would explain to me the exact course my choices would take. If I did thus and so, Outcome A would happen, and if I did the opposite (usually what she didn’t approve of) Outcome B would happen (usually something detrimental to me). Finally momma would wind up her counsel with these ominous words, “but do as you please.”
What teenager can combat such a psychological weapon as that? Most of the time I followed her advice, and I was sorry when I didn’t!
I know where Momma got her knack of instruction. She got it from the Bible. Yes that is right, she was following much of what the bible tells us about self-determination. Namely, we all have a choice. I have a choice every day to follow the guidance found in God’s word, or in Momma’s words, “do as I please.”
Being a minister, I have heard numerous people complain about the circumstances of their life and faith. They complain about their lack of peace, how everything seems to be going wrong, that they just can’t catch a break, and nobody cares about them. They complain about their church, the people there and how they act, the music, the preaching, the time they must spend there, and on and on. How am I to respond to those complaints?
I am just speaking for myself here, but if I am honest, when I find myself beginning to complain about such things, it is usually because I have been “doing as I please.” I have not been making the good choices that I should have. As Momma has warned me…I am living the consequences of Outcome B.
In his book, A Guide to Prayer For All Who Walk With God, Reuben Job says that the bible is filled with stories of people, regular people who receive instructions from “Momma” God for their lives. Some of those people follow the instructions they receive, and others…you guessed it, do as they please. Reuben Job recommends that we cultivate what he calls, “practicing a preference for God and God’s will” (296).
I find that his words have encouraged me this morning. Practicing a preference for God and God’s will, frankly, that guidance is fairly simple. Practicing, like when we practice a musical instrument, means that we do not always get it right. But it also means that someday a beautiful melody will appear and will be our Outcome A.
Today, I want to set my mind on cultivating that way of seeking God, practicing a preference for God. I know that when I put God first, have a preference for God’s will for me, then I’m going to do less complaining about my circumstances, my peace, my church, my friends, and I will spend more time rejoicing at the presence of God with me and the abundant life God gives me.
Practicing a preference for God…hum…Momma would like that!
(My mother is Lucy Collins Hallyburton, and she now resides with God in glory. I miss her!)