Learning My Lesson

Imagine your child comes to you and says, "Dad, I screwed up. I did something really dumb. It's all my fault and the only way out of this is if you help me. I need you to fix it Dad. I can't do it myself." I think I would want to help.

But wait.

Now imagine your child comes to you saying all of the same stuff on COUNTLESS occasions, and every time it's because they were careless or stupid. Should you help them? Aren't you just enabling them if you do? Shouldn't you be teaching them to stand on their own two feet instead of constantly running to you every time they mess up? Because you can't always be there to bail them out. You can't fix everything, right?

This is what's puzzling me... I have a heavenly father who doesn't seem to be following the rules of good parenting. I have gone to Him on COUNTLESS occasions saying the same thing... Over and over... Here are a few that stand out in my mind:
  1. During my "Christian Life" final in bible college: This was supposed to be the easiest of all exams... I barely read over my notes, which is more than most of my classmates did. Seriously... people were CRYING during the exam. And I prayed... "God... I should have studied! I know! I screwed up! Even though I know I don't deserve your help, PLEASE HELP ME REMEMBER WHAT I READ!" And He did... the answers literally popped into my brain... I scored 110%.
  2. When I idiotically slacked off on one of my last required university courses: Right before the final exam I suddenly realized that my procrastination had finally caught up with me. Unless I scored a 90% on the exam, impossible, I would fail the course and I would not get my degree that year. This time I prayed something like... "Why do I keep doing this to myself? How could I do this? Please help me... Except maybe you shouldn't, I need to learn my lesson." Do you know what happened? The prof inexplicably cancelled out all the late penalties on a paper I handed in WAY too late and suddenly I only needed to score a 30% on the final exam. I didn't get taught a lesson after all.
  3. When I erased ALL of Ben's baby photos off of our computer before checking that the disc I'd burned ACTUALLY WORKED... Which, of course, it didn't: This prayer went more like this, "Oh God! I'm so stupid! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! Oh... why am I so stupid? PLEASE! Oh God! PLEASE!" After trying to load the disc AT LEAST 50 times... it suddenly, and again inexplicably, started working.
  4. When I lost my wallet with all of our credit cards and money in it while staying in Saskatoon last Christmas: Anyone who knows me well knows that I rarely carry a purse and often leave my wallet in dumb places like the yarn section at Walmart, or recently, in the garbage at McDonald's. In this instance I prayed... "Please help us find my wallet God. I know I never take care of my stuff and this is the result of me being stupid AGAIN, but PLEASE if you could just help us find it..." The next evening some lady called who had found our wallet lying in the middle of the road in front of my sister's house.
  5. When I deleted my blog: Enough said.

The thing that ties all of these occasions together in my mind is that if there was ever an idiot who deserved exactly what they got that person is me. On all of those occasions I was faced with the reality of my incompetence and my helplessness. On all of those occasions I knew God could work a miracle and I begged him for one, but I also knew if He didn't help me I was only getting what was coming to me... the consequences of my careless, thoughtless stupidity. Every time I came to Him feeling like He must be up there thinking, "Good Grief! AGAIN? This child is so hopeless. When is she ever going to learn?"

Wordly wisdom tells me that God is enabling me to be careless. Instead of letting me live with the consequences of my actions, He's bailing me out... Over and over. Worldly wisdom tells me that a smarter parenting technique would be to let me experience the consequences of my actions... so I LEARN MY LESSON.

So what's God doing? Why does He keep bailing me out? What's the point? Maybe there isn't one... or MAYBE God IS trying to teach me a lesson. Maybe the lesson isn't how to stand on my own to feet though. Maybe He's trying to teach me to depend on Him and not my own competence, because unlike my earthly father, He will always be there to bail me out if I need it. He can fix everything that needs fixing. I know this doesn't mean I have a limitless "get out of jail free" card, I know God won't fix everything so my life runs perfectly...

I'm starting to think I've been missing the point. I've been feeling like an idiot when I have to depend on God and that I'm bothering Him when I come for help, but I'm starting to think maybe He's finally got me just where He wants me... a dependent... for life... like one of those kids who never leaves home.

Now, if only I could remember to check with Him BEFORE I screw up...


  1. Becky,

    I love this blog...I also routinely beat myself up for doing stupid things that God really should just let me suffer for. But maybe that's just it. Maybe God know's we'll beat ourselves up over it, and just doesn't feel the need. Also, I think that dependance on God is a much more valuable trait than doing everything perfectly. Plus it's way harder to learn, and to go through, and so maybe we aren't getting the easy way out after all. Hmm. Way to make me think on a Monday Becky. I love you.

  2. 'Asking for help' is part of solving the problem.
    I don't think you were ever bailed out. You asked for help. That is what people do when they are in trouble.
    If your child comes and asks for help... you give it. You don't solve it.. you suggest.. you set them on the right path... that is what God.. or parents do. There is a lot of humility in admitting a mistake and its part of the path to solutions.
    And yes.. there is a lesson in everything. If not for you, then the other people involved.
    That is what I believe.. and your stories seem to reiterate those facts.

    Now.. pocket lint? THAT is something that I can't solve. Why do we need it? Where does it come from? What do you do with it?

  3. LOL... ahhhh Joyce... always pondering the deeper mysteries of life...

  4. I can't help but think of that commercial..."Can't get your kids to leave home? Stop cooking with cheese!"

    God "cooks with cheese". I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but at his dependable kitchen table. And that's exactly where He wants me.

  5. shirley... you're awesome!!
    "God cooks with cheese" wow... i want to use that sometime... that's way too cool


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