>I’m going to warn you in advance – as you read this post some of you are about to think that I’m a very mean mommy. But, I think the action is going to make our house a much more peaceful place, and it definitely taught me something!
We’re having trouble with chores around here. I spend a good portion of my time reminding the girls of what they should be doing, and I thought that maybe some chore charts would help with that. So, a few days ago we made chore charts to hang on the walls. The idea was that each afternoon they’d have right in front of them the short list of everything they needed to get done before playtime. The quicker they accomplished their tasks, the sooner they could play each afternoon. Pretty simple, huh? The very next day was a disaster! For three hours before supper, the girls goofed off in their room instead of doing the 20 minutes of work it would have taken to tidy the room. After supper we sent them to start their evening routine. Fifteen minutes had passed and nothing had been done. When we asked them what they had been doing, their answer was that they had been playing with their toys.
Now, to understand what happened next, we have to back up a bit. First of all, we’d been talking for a long time about being good stewards of what God has given us by taking care of it all. Second, just that afternoon we’d discussed the importance of casting aside everything that led us to sin. The girls had been fighting over dress-up bracelets. I calmly explained to them that their relationship as sisters was much more important than dress-up bracelets, and that if the bracelets were causing them to sin against one another, then we needed to get rid of the bracelets. The principle seemed to sink in because they stopped fighting!
So, here were are to the evening. I looked at them and said, “Your toys have continually kept you from obedience. During the daytime, your toys keep you from doing your chores, even though you know you’ll be able to play with them as soon as your chores are done. Now they are keeping you from your evening routine. So, we need to do what Jesus told us to do. In Matthew 18:8-9, Jesus says, “8 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. 9 “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.” Now, you need to realize that your toys are causing you to stumble. So, we need to remove that problem.
No, I didn’t take all of their toys and give them away! But, Doug and I did remove all of their toys from their bedroom. They were left with clothes and knick-knacks – nothing more. They were told that whenever they wanted to play with something, they could ask for it. I would get it out and they would be expected to clean it up and return it to me before getting up from playing with it. Doug and I spent the evening sorting through the piles of stuff in the living room, throwing away old papers, broken toys, and bits of clutter.
Of course, as I’m teaching them this lesson, the Lord is reminding me that there are things that distract me from obedience as well. The computer is a big temptation for me. I love to play with pictures, post a blog, piddle on Facebook – you name it! Over the past couple of weeks, the Lord has been leading me to set specific computer times and to make sure that I don’t just mindlessly sit down at the computer when I should be working around the house. There are always things that can serve to distract us from obedience – distracting our minds from focusing on Christ and spending time in prayer; distracting our bodies from behaving appropriately; distracting us from making our schedule follow God’s plan for our day; distracting us from loving our neighbor; distracting us from performing the true function of the body of believers; and the list can go on and on.
What are our distractions? What are our encumbrances? What are the things leading us into sin and disobedience? What things are keeping us from true obedience? Will you join me, as individuals and as members of our local churches to put aside all of those encumbrances and run the race? (Heb 2:1-2)