the real state of her heart, the real state of mine

im tired.  i am physically tired yes, but that tired is not one that gets me deep down.  the one that gets me deep down is the tired where i feel like all my efforts, and all my work, is producing no fruit, or at least not any fruit that lasts.  that, of course, is because any fruit that lasts cannot be produced by hands of dust and clay like mine.  fruit that lasts is produced by the father.  and im not sure i involve him nearly enough in this process at all.

i really really really love it when eden obeys me. and she does it, alot.  i would say the majority of the time.  but its in those moments where she fails to obey, or even blatantly disobeys just to spite me, that i really bring in to question the motives behind my desire for her obedience  

i find that mostly i like it because it is convenient.  it makes my life easier.  sure, it makes me happy too because it means less strife between us, which is legitimately a good thing.  and peace and order in the home are legitimately wonderful things.

but i think a major motive, even though i loathe admitting it, is that it makes me feel pride, in front of peers and parents and in front of the mirror.  it allows me to puff myself up and convince myself that eden is really on the right track and its because i am doing a great job. and sure, maybe i am doing a good job.  but the danger is in my pride and joy and hope being wrapped up in her obedience.  because when she fails to obey, i find myself despairing, with a laser focus on how her disobedience indicates my own failure.  

in short, her obedience leads me blindly into false assurance and keeps me deceived and in the dark about the real state of her heart, and the real state of mine.  

days like today i find myself reevaluating, for the hundredth time, why i even teach her to obey?  

is it so she will learn to be good?  or is it to help her begin to learn that she must obey God. surely wanting her to be happy and have self control are good things right?  i know she is a happier child when she is able to control herself and stay within boundaries.  but again, is her happiness my ultimate end?  is my happiness my ultimate end?  

or is my ultimate end to teach her how to obey God, so that the may enjoy him forever?  of course the really teaching has to come from him, but is my goal to point her in that direction as much as possible?  are my motives for her compliance my convenience, or her increased understanding of who she is a sinner and how grand and overwhelming God and his grace are?  

i guess me even asking these questions is a sign of God's grace working in my heart, to keep me from putting all my efforts into futile behavior modification.  and i guess my weariness at trying to form and mold her into the ideal child is a grace as well, because it shows me that labor outside of Him is always fruitless and exhausting. 

and man, it really is exhausting.  


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