Spring – bordering on summer – has arrived in full force here in south Arkansas. For a while, it seemed we were teetering between the end of winter and the arrival of spring, and that meant keeping an eye on the weather forecast. Would we need long sleeves for one more day, or would short sleeves be acceptable?
My children are all so different in their approach to clothing selection. Once a season’s new clothes have been introduced to my girls’ wardrobe, they are all ready to wear them regardless of the weather. My son, on the other hand, likes the familiar. As excited as he may be about seeing some of his fun “new” shirts, he doesn’t want to let go of the ones he has loved for an entire season.
The clothing choices of all of my children can pose a bit of a conflict at times. The girls frequently try to convince me that they will try a preferred outfit, and if they get too hot or too cold, they’ll change. Over the years they have gradually learned that Mommy and Daddy are typically right (and in those rare instances we’re wrong, we’re willing to let them change into what they wanted in the first place!), and the conflicts have decreased. There might be some pouting and fussing, but no arguing. They know we’re right and that they just need to postpone their preferences for a while.
Steven, on the other hand, hasn’t learned that yet. A recent experience proved that truth.
It had been rather chilly for about a week, but we were entering a couple of days of record highs. We would see temperatures well into the 80’s. We were determined to not turn on the air conditioning just yet, so we put fans in every room of the house and encouraged the kids to pick out summery outfits.
Steven didn’t want to. He desperately wanted to wear long sleeves. Not just long sleeves, but his thermal Lightning McQueen shirt. We told him no. He had to wear short sleeves. He argued. We reminded him that it was not negotiable. We had given an instruction, and he was going to obey. Realizing that he is still a bit confused by such things as changing seasons, we tried to explain to him that he would get very hot, and we wanted him to stay cool.
His answer floored me. “But, I’m fine being hot!”
I can see churches clearly played out in my three children. There are the people who are like my girls. They might not like growing and learning, but they accept that God knows best. They accept that even if they don’t like what He is placing before them, He is out for their best interest. He will fulfill the desires of their hearts if their hearts are stayed on Him and they walk in obedience to Him. So, despite the fact that sometimes they try to argue and negotiate, ultimately they submit, obey, grow, and wait.
Then there are those like Steven. They like where they are. They realize that where they are is not in line with where God is telling them to be, but they like the familiar. If they move forward, they will be in unfamiliar territory and they just don’t like that thought. Just like Steven in a thermal shirt on a very warm spring day, they grow more and more uncomfortable with each passing day. But, they insist they are fine being uncomfortable. Why? Because somehow they think being uncomfortable in the familiar is preferable over being obedient in the unfamiliar.
Where do you fall? Are you following God in obedience even when it does not reflect your true desires? Or, are you clinging to the familiar? If you’re clinging to the familiar, let me give you a warning. It’s going to get uncomfortable. You will experience agitation with those who are moving forward. Your relationships will be challenged. You will be frustrated by the conflicts that seem to arise all around you. You may think you’re in the right, but there will be no peace in it. You insist that you are fine where you are, but deep down inside, you know better.
If you are one of those in the “fine being hot” category, I implore you to reconsider. God knows what the forecast of your life is. He knows best what you need to wear today. Listen to Him! Obey Him! And find the joy, and yes even comfort, of stepping into the unfamiliar in the company of One who knows exactly what’s coming.