I was barely old enough to write out words. Yet, with misspellings and tears, the note I wrote to my parents that day still comes to mind.
My brother didn’t want me playing with his ball, and I did. I wanted it. I took it. With a tinge of guilt I bounced it on the back wall of mom’s sewing closet. Two walls didn’t connect which provided an open space. It was just big enough for…
“Oh no,” I thought. “It’s lost forever!”
I didn’t want them to know – and I did. I couldn’t handle the guilt of knowing I took something when I knew I wasn’t supposed to. So I wrote what I could to tell what I’d done.
A couple years later mom, my sister and I walked through a store. Mom took too long, as mom’s often do for most every young child drug through boring old stores looking at boring old parent stuff. Anger settled in to this little girl’s heart, “Can’t we get something I want this time?”
In one of the aisle’s lay a bag of gum balls ripped open. Shiny gum balls – waiting. Rarely did we get special things which come from coin-operated machines. I wanted it, just like I wanted the ball. So I took one and hid it in my pocket.
As we checked-out, the lady behind the register smiled as she offered my sister and I each a little something. A gum ball. Gulp. My reticence must have showed as I slowly accepted the offer & stuck it in another pocket. A gift on one side and theft on the other. My heart felt engulfed in heaviness as I sat in the backseat of our car.
In order to rid myself of this awful feeling I tried to hide the evidence. Which, of course, works really well. Because when parents clean cars they would never find a gum ball ingeniously tucked away by a naive seven year old.
Mom asked about it.
Just like with the stolen ball, I confessed. I took the thing I wanted even though it wasn’t mine to take.
Fortunately, mom offered forgiveness. Just like dad did when I stole my brother’s ball.
Neither of these incidents seem large on the scale of all things human, but they were to a young sensitive girl. They were also indicative of a heart which would continuously seek to take and get what she
needs wants because others aren’t providing it for her.
Mom and dad showed a young heart what it looks like to receive forgiveness. They were stern about the error of my ways, for sure. But they didn’t lay on guilt trips either.
Both of these incidents were also trans-formative. They continued to remind me of the conviction I feel in my heart when I choose to take rather than trust.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. Nearly four decades later I’m still wrestling with it. Too often I’m still wondering when God is going to step up and provide, or when someone else is going to give me the thing I’m wanting.
Repeatedly, my conscience becomes polluted with thoughts of selfish taking and ways of self-reliancy. Every single time I am faced with a heart issue.
Do I believe that God is really who He says He is? Do I believe His ways are better than my ways? Will I believe His will over my own and trust the outcome to Him?
As an adult I’ve continued to face the same cycle of wanting and taking or trusting and waiting. One leads to swirling guilt and a muddled, weighted-down conscience. The other leads to a freed heart and lightness of mind which comes from a cleared conscience.
Whenever I take without trusting, I feel it. I feel muddled & heavy.
When I trust Him to provide for what I need over taking that which I want, God’s grace breathes release from the need to make it happen for myself.
The Spirit continually speaks to my heart to convict me. Yet, as I press in to the One who is truth and as I receive more fully His love and care which is always for my best, I experience greater freedom, lightness of spirit and a clearer mind.