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Immerse: Beginnings, Week 5

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received as a parent is that many of your everyday struggles can be avoided by giving your child an opportunity to choose. Kids like to feel like they have some kind of control over their lives, and by presenting two options you’re able to give them that, while also making sure the choices are appropriate.

This parenting trick led to one of those “stories I love to tell” about my oldest. When he was a toddler he hated cleanup time (as do most kids). This meant there were always a lot of tears and tantrums when we asked him to do it. There was one particular afternoon when he was being extra stubborn. I said, “You have two choices. You can clean up your toys or you can sit in timeout.” He looked right at me, then walked over to the chair we always used for his “thinking time” and sat down. His dad and I would ask him every 5 minutes or so if he was ready to cleanup, and every time his answer was a very emphatic, “NO.” He ended up sitting in that chair for at least 30 minutes before he chose to get up and take care of his mess. We were so shocked that at his age he had the will to stick it out so long. He didn’t want to listen to his parents and stubbornly wallowed in the consequences.

It’s easy now to look back and laugh at the whole thing, but how often have I been just as stubborn?  In our Immerse: Beginnings reading this week, the word “stubborn” is mentioned in regards to Pharaoh. Plague after plague was brought down on Egypt, yet he still refused to let God’s people go. These weren’t gentle nudges or whispers; they were huge acts of destruction he witnessed. He was so stuck in his way of thinking, he refused to let the Israelites go. Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Pharaoh was surely a fool, but I know that I’m equally guilty sometimes, stubbornly going my own way instead of listening to what God wants me to do.

How many times in my life have I been forced to switch lanes from the path of foolishness to a path of wisdom, while resisting it the whole time? Why is it so much easier to be selfishly stubborn, when we could just as easily be selflessly submissive? So, I encourage you to take a look at your own daily struggles to see if you’ve had your own “Pharaoh” moments when it comes to God’s guidance, and then allow yourself the freedom of letting go of your stubbornness.

- Serena Maerkl