Years ago, one of my sons wanted to celebrate his first day of Christmas break in style. While my husband and I were out, he and his brother grabbed a laundry basket and headed for the top of a carpeted staircase that led down to the basement of our former home. In their minds, it made for a fast-track to Fun-ville! The only problem was that at the end of that staircase was a wall that apparently did not seem too intimidating to either one of them at the time. And truthfully, the joy ride must have worked for them a few times (probably just enough to get the adrenaline flowing)! However, on the last ride down, one of my sons hit a bump in the road and went flying. In that brief moment of flying he must have been exhilarated thinking–this is the best ride ever!–until it came to a very painful and bone-crunching conclusion.
Unfortunately, when I got home I was too busy to take his injury very seriously. After all, this son’s melodramatic complaints were a regular occurrence in our home. So I ignored him for a day. In fact, at the actual time of the accident, my other son ignored him as well. He simply watched his brother writhe in pain and only offered these words as comfort, “Pain is just weakness leaving your body.” It seems that compassion does not run high in our family. (Yes, I know, not a good thing for a counselor!)
The next day, however, I saw that my son’s foot was looking very swollen and bruised. At that point, my mothering instinct finally kicked in, and I rushed to get his foot checked out at a hospital. After our visit to the ER that day, we found out that our son had ended up fracturing three bones in his foot. Talk about a mother’s remorse–Yikes!
I have never forgotten that story and I think that it illustrates a lesson for all of us. I think that most of us believe that everything we want must be good for us and/or at least worth the price we’re going to have to pay in the end to get it. I hate to admit it, but every day I struggle with what I want. And unfortunately, there are more than a few times that what I want is not what God wants for me. Obviously, my son thought that all he wanted was a quick and fun experience, but in reality, he got that, and oh, so much more!
Is there something you want to do in your life that you know in the back of your mind will cost you in the end? Maybe you keep pushing that little voice back down, because you want to do whatever it is sooo badly! Maybe you’ve experienced that moment of exhilaration with your “want,” just like my son’s moment of exhilaration while flying through the air. And it keeps you coming back for more. But remember the reality is that you simply haven’t hit the wall, yet. If you are planning on doing something you want that may not be, at least in part, what God wants for you, it’s just a matter of time before you will crash and burn.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:1-2 (NIV)