Follow the Leader

"Then Samuel said, Do you think all GOD wants are sacrifices— empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what GOD tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around GOD is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to GOD ’s command, he says No to your kingship.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭15:22-23‬ ‭MSG‬‬

“Obey God: If God tells you to run your head through a brick wall ... take off running toward that brick wall and He’ll make a hole for it. Obey God and leave the consequences of your obedience in His hands... He CAN handle it. “
~ Dr. Charles F. Stanley grandfather

“Give them a bath... like now it’s just noon”... that was the conversation I was having with the Lord shortly after giving the boys breakfast.

I heard it clearly and knew that was the next step so I stopped filling the sink with water to do the dishes and put everyone in a safe place and went upstairs to start getting things ready to bathe 3 toddlers... in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. I went into kids bathroom and began to wash out the bathtub, start a load of laundry from the potty training accidents from the night before, spray cleaner on the toilet and just as the laundry cycle started it happened.

I knelt down to start cleaning and I heard it again “give them a bath”. I thought “I’ve gotta clean the tub first”. Then I started cleaning the potty seat and the step stool as well and it happened again. “give them a bath”. Well, you know how we do, we ignore it; like alright already let me finish this up and I’m on it. Or is that just me? As I began to clean the toilet I hear “in this season to get where I’m taking you you need to follow my instructions and strategies the first time”. I knew better but I just wanted to squeeze this one thing in and move on but God was asking me to bathe my children.

When I finally obeyed I’d felt like I’d lost my barrings for a minute, I knew I needed 2 pair of underwear and one diaper. Grab the bouncer, lotion, towels, washcloths, and turn on Pete the Cat but walking it out to get it done was almost like stumbling in the dark. It didn’t translate well at all and I ended up wasting about 20 mins back and forth trying to gather everything including the kids all while making extra trips to pick up what I forgot.

I finally got them bathed and shampooed 2 out of 3 boys hair, got them dressed and when I was done I was exhausted like I’d run a marathon. I mean normally it’s a little work even when they’re not cooperating but today they were super well behaved and couldn’t have been better. I was exhausted because I didn’t follow the leader. I’m convinced my exhaustion came from the wasted bathroom cleaning on top of the additional 20 mins. Let's be clear your girl had cleaned the bathroom previously mentioned, only to take all 3 children into my husband and I's bathroom so I could actually be a responsible parent and watch them as I took turns bathing them. Yea, a complete waste of time right?

Had I followed the instruction correctly the first time God would’ve continued to preserve my time and energy and I wouldn’t have begun to grow frustrated with the boys and essentially blow nap time and bedtime out of the water. By the time my husband walked in from work we were all hanging on by a thread barely making it through lunch trying for a late nap.

Finally, I sent everyone to bed including myself but before my eyes closed I thought of the childhood game I’d played so many times called, “follow the leader”. The game in its simplest form was a bunch of kids trusting, listening and following one leader blindly with their eyes wide open and sometimes closed to safety or the designated base all while not getting “out”. The goal was to survive and navigate the path in which the leader lead you on trusting that the leader had seen it before and chose it anyway because it was the best one to take; not one that intentionally caused you to fail.

The players who typically got out were those who didn’t listen or follow in totality, they decided to stray no matter how much or little. They decided they knew better than the one leading and soon found themselves on the sidelines watching everyone else. While some players ultimately joined the group of those who were out of the game there was always a winner sometimes two. The best part of the game at least for those who were out of the game was starting over.

I’ll admit I’ve been on the sidelines a few times playing the game but also in real life. God asks me to go left and talk to sister so and so and I say “naugh she’s gonna talk my head off and I don’t feel like it today”. God will say cook this for dinner and I reason that one of my children won’t eat it and fix something else that none of them want. Please understand God is not speaking for our entertainment He’s speaking to get us to follow Him. He wants our heart posture to be yes Lord, not hang on a second. We must be willing to follow each step just as He instructs or we will be like the Israelites, on an eleven-day journey for 40 years.

The question remains will we be found faithful? Will we be found faithful in the little things such as making the bed or taking care of the home we are renting not just because we want what’s next but because it’s in those things that our character is developed, discipline is strengthened, and our ears and heart are in tune with the instruction of the Lord.

Heavenly Father forgive me when I don’t follow your instruction even when it’s as simple as bathing my children. But thank you for another chance to get it right. I see where you desire to take me and my family and our obedience is imperative. Let us not sacrifice our promise land because we are afraid, filled with pride, or because we won’t listen. Incline our ears to You oh Lord and sharpen our hearing that we may know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is the way we should go. Amen


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