Dirty Diapers And Clean Hearts
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Things were about to get messy. My son, then age 2, bore a suspiciously familiar odor. I carried him toward the bathroom to check his diaper, and as I walked, he struggled. “I don’t want you to change me!” protested my toddler as he squirmed in my arms.
Once in the bathroom, my suspicions were confirmed. The diaper was indeed dirty. It smelled bad and had to have been uncomfortable to sit in. So why was Danny fighting me? Didn’t he want to be clean? Actually, he didn’t – at least, not as badly as he wanted to continue playing. Danny was enjoying what he was doing, so he accepted the stink and the discomfort.
Though I could clearly see Danny’s need for a change in that situation, I often miss my own need for transformation. I justify my habits because I don’t want to do the hard work of changing.
Recently, the way I have been interacting with my teens has not been working well. My attempts at routine suggestions or corrections result in conflict. Both parties leave the encounters feeling hurt and angry. Yet when God shows me where I am wrong in these situations, I inwardly scream “I don’t want you to change me!” I want him to change my children or my circumstances. Even though I am uncomfortable, I am unwilling to let God get at the source of the problem, which is located in my heart.
The biggest obstacle is my pride. Just as Danny needed to surrender his independence and let me clean him up, I need to admit my need for God to work in me. It is painful to confess my mess and invite God into it. Maybe you also have some places in your life that are giving off anything but a pleasing fragrance, but don’t know how to start the cleanup.
Thankfully, King David provides an example of the teachable spirit we need to get on the right path. “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. “ In the last two verses of Psalm 139:24, he invites God to examine his thinking, reveal any offensive behaviors, and lead him in a better way. If we pray this in sincerity, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long for the answers!
In my situation, God may direct me to pause before entering the fray with my kids, so he can guide my words. I might need to change my tone of voice or body language, or apologize more freely to them. Your specific situation may be different, but the faith principle remains the same. It is time to stop struggling and start cooperating with God’s efforts. We can, in effect, climb up on the changing table, willingly saying, “I want you to change me!”