Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Examining Cob Webs

My 11 year old son just got his first job delivering papers to our local community a few weeks ago.  On his second week delivering we thought we would try to beat our time for the first week. 

As we got about almost a quarter of the way through I realized we might actually take an extra hour or two as the spider season has begun and there are many spider webs and spiders in the walkways to so many of the front doors of the homes.  Although my son enjoys bugs, he does not enjoy webs and he does not enjoy spiders in webs that he might walk through.  Each house delivery was becoming excruciatingly long as he examined each bush and corner in each walkway for potential spiders and webs.

After several very slow deliveries I realized I was at a cross roads.  I was feeling frustration, at being stopped up and slowed down.  I realized the cross road I was at was the choice to go down the road into irritation which would crush my son or down the road of love, sacrificially helping my son.  Of course I don’t want to crush my son and the only and best choice is always sacrificial love.  I was in the battle of pushing away my irritation with the help of the Lord, when I prayed about what to do instead and the Lord quickly showed me just what my son needed.  As I obeyed what the Lord had showed me, I used a stick we had picked up and became his advocate and cleared the way for him to deliver the paper to the doors.  I also wanted to encourage him to focus on the task at hand and thinking about getting in and out quickly. 

This helped speed things up a little and eventually I thought it was time to let him go on his own on the less “cob webby” walkways…  Though he was doing better, he still stopped and examined potential web hazards along the way some.  We then talked about how we can feed our fears without realizing it by looking for problems.  We talked about doing an overview of the walkway and then keeping our mind focused on the goal of getting the paper to the door, dashing in and out like Flash Gordon without looking at each and every potential problem, but getting the job done.  My son enjoys various super heros and Flash Gordon is someone he could relate with and develop a picture in him mind of.  Daniel, being a young boy of few words, didn’t have much to say, but just kept going.  I could tell it wasn’t easy for him though he just kept going and I kept encouraging him.  I continued to discern which houses to clear the way for him and which houses to let him press forward on his own.

Out of the blue, as we were about half way through what I call the “home stretch,” Daniel said, “What you said came in handy about just focusing on where you need to get to and not look to the sides and corners.”  At that moment his comment was evidence to me that, though he remained quiet throughout the majority of the delivery time, he was contemplating my words inwardly and applying them.  We talked further about how this is a concept that will serve him well through life as he matures and uses it in other areas.  In the end, we did beat our time from the previous week… by 7 minutes.

(My son holding the cob web stick and a paper to deliver)

This makes me think of Hebrews 12:1-2 where Paul encourages us to strip off and throw aside every encumbrance and every unnecessary weight, which often includes fears.  He encourages us to throw away each particular sin that clings to us, that entangles us, that stops us up from growing in the ways of love, that stops us up from loving like Christ loves.  Paul encourages us to look away from the things that distract us, that slow us down from our purpose, but to focus on the appointed course of the race, to our Jesus, who is our Leader, our Source of faith and the One who brings us into maturity, into perfection, who teaches us to love like He loves.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
                                                                                                                                ~Hebrews 12:1-3

I think of how this applies to my own life, of how easily I can get side tracked from running the race by stopping and spending time entangled in my fears, in my sin... but the thing to do instead is to remember Jesus.  It reminds me that I need to 'moment by moment' be looking to Jesus and not becoming distracted from Him, but remembering He is my Source of faith, that He is the Finisher of my faith, He is the One who is willing to teach me all to help my faith come into maturity and perfection.  I just need to be willing to cooperate with Him.  The question that comes to mind, “Am I willing?”  ... “Are you willing?” ...  Let it be so.

Update Sept. 14, 2013 - My son shaved 70 minutes off of our time keeping his focus on only the spiders in his way to the door.  Victory!
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