Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mommy's Little Helper

I remember one of the wisest pieces of parenting advice I got. When you ask, "Who wants to be mommy's little helper?" all of the sudden, as if by a miracle, kids turn into near angels. It's not that they won't turn back to what they were doing that you were attempting to distract them from, but they somehow seem to have this internal desire to help you. (Or maybe we're all really born people pleasers to an extent, I'm not sure.)

But as kids get older, they get more distracted. It's not that they aren't willing to help, they are just busy, sometimes with legitimate things, sometimes with preferences. For example, my man-child is willing to help me a great majority of the time and is known to offer assistance if he sees me running around with my hair on fire. However, his least preferred time to help is if I am cutting something up (like vegetables) and I need him to start browning the ground beef. He really hates that. His wife will thank me someday, but it is undoubtedly his least favorite expression of love.

The woman child also has her preferences. She will organize her things to make them neater and more functional because she knows clutter makes me cray-cray. However, like the man-child, she has preferences: when it will be done and how long it will take to complete. It's not that it isn't finished; she's just not like me whereby starting a project means seeing in through to immediate completion. (Type A....but I've already said that.) Her bins will be organized and straightened, it just might be done one a week for nine weeks.

And all of this is okay. They are still helping because I asked.

And after yesterday, relearning that we are reminded to ask for help, it makes me think about mommy's other little helper. The one I should rely on considerably more, particularly when things are about to go bat-crap crazy.

Before Jesus was even nailed to the cross, He told the disciples it was to their benefit for Him to leave so that the Father could send the Advocate, or Helper, in His name. (John 16:7) What's interesting is that unlike my kids who I can persuade to be mommy's little helper (and oh, my kids are in middle school), the Spirit of God in me doesn't quite play the same game. Is the Spirit my helper? Undoubtedly. But the Spirit of God doesn't do it to please me, not by a long shot.

The Helper we've been given has a much greater purpose than keeping us happy or making things easier. This Helper was given to keep us from making ourselves miserable. How? Constant communication with the Father and Son to let us know what to do so that we don't go (or attempt to go) off the grid and living on our own.

But there are catches. First, we have to ask for help. When we notice things internally feeling unsettled and seriously lacking peace, that is generally a pretty big indication that we need more help in that moment than we probably did in the previous ten moments. And second, we have to stop and listen for a response. The Spirit is willing, more than willing, to guide us, the problem is we ask and then tend to proceed with caution rather than waiting for directions.

So here's the million dollar question: What will do with this information?

This past weekend I asked the man-child about a grade he received on something at school. It wasn't horrible but I also knew it wasn't his best work. His response was that he thought he was okay but it was harder than anticipated. I asked him why he didn't ask for help, and then reminded him that in this particular class where knowledge one year builds up continually, if he misses a fundamental building block, he'll always be starting from behind. His response? "I guess I just feel like I should be able to do it on my own without any help. It just feels weird to ask for help."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If as his mom I am willing to help him, how much more is God willing, through His Spirit, to help us, if we would just ask?

Ya know, God has never once asked or expected us to get to a point where we don't need Him or His help. As a matter of fact, in His upside down ways, the older we get the more we should realize how despearately we do need Him in every aspect of our lives. I mean Jesus even told us that apart from Him we can do nothing, (John 15:5) so why do we keep trying?

I don't remember where I first saw this, but it seems appropriate to share. Every summer we celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day. But maybe today can be our reminder that we are supposed to live IN-DEPENDENCE on our heavenly Father. He's given us the gift of the Holy Spirit for a reason. Maybe it's time to accept what we have within us and allow God to speak freely, giving us the help we desperately need.

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