Friday, November 9, 2012

Stay Focused

We’re good at making excuses and changing the subject when we’re confronted with truth, or when we mess up, or just about any time we’re about to look bad aren’t we?

I mean I think we’re born with the ‘change the subject” gift, we don’t even need to be able to talk and we can lose focus and change the subject with people.

I remember when my son was about 18 months old, he had no fear! He started walking at about 8 months, and began running, jumping, diving, and tackling at about 8 months and 1 day.

One day he was in the living room watching a certain kids TV show with 4 extremely wealthy 40 year old Australian men who do a lot of, shall we say wiggling while they “sing” their incredibly deep lyrically challenging songs to packed stadiums around the world.

These composers are credited with songs like “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy”, “Get ready to Wiggle” and my son’s personal favorite “Quack Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack, Cock-a-doodle-doo”.

Anyway, I walked into the living room and there he was standing on the back of the couch with his arms stretched out wide, smiling from ear to ear. I said “Ethan get down right now”.

He looked at me and in a precisely timed and choreographed maneuver fell forward, arms stretched out wide and tumbled with a perfect tuck and roll right to the floor when the “band” said Cock-a-doodle-doo!

It was like a “Chariots of Fire” slow motion moment for me…I was like…NOOOO EEETHHANN, but I was too late he fell smack down on his head.

Then he did something that told me a lot about my son. He didn’t cry, he didn’t whine, he didn’t even let out a screech. No, not Ethan, he picked up his little 18 month old body and before I could reach him, darted back up the couch, over the cushions and straight to the top to do it again.

Why is it that we go back to things that cause us pain? I know it startled him on his previous tumble, but as soon as he could get back up he went back for more.

This time I was right there though, I was just about to grab him and take him for a piggy back ride that he would never forget, but I had a “brilliant” idea. I thought, “why don’t I use this as a teaching moment for my son, while he is actually in the act of doing something painful, this will be great, I’m sure he’ll always remember this active learning lesson I’m about to bestow upon him.”

So, I said to my 18 month old. “Ethan, don’t do that again. You could really get hurt, what do you have to say for yourself?”

There, I confronted him with truth, I did it in love and I asked him a question that would help foster accountability. Dr. Dobson would be proud.

Ethan, however wasn’t too impressed with my parental skills, because before I could get him down, and before he could verbalize a remorseful response to my question. He answered me by changing the subject without words.

He took his arms and placed them as if he had wings (much like a duck would do), and he flapped them 5 times (Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack Quack) and then he placed his 5 fingers on top of his head and jiggled them (much like a chicken’s head looks on the top), then put his arms straight out, smiled from ear to ear and dove forward off the couch, AGAIN!

In essence, my son lost focus and changed the subject with Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack, Cock-a-doodle-doo! When confronted with truth, and an accountability question.

I couldn’t believe it…blown off by an 18 month old with a song by the Wiggles, unbelievable!

He got back up shook his head, started laughing and went back for more. This time, I was in his path and grabbed him before he could inflict more pain on himself.

You know the whole “changing the subject” idea isn’t anything new. There are many examples in scripture where people were confronted with truth and rather than stay focused, answer the question with integrity and make appropriate changes in their lives, they changed the subject.

In Jesus’ encounter with the Woman at the well, we see this maneuver as well. When she came face to face with the truth of her past that He wanted her to focus on, she changes the subject in an effort to put off the reality of needed changes in her life.

Jesus sees right through that though, and challenges her with truth and love, because that’s what He is…Truth and Love!

This is a lesson I constantly have to re-learn. Jesus knows what’s best for me, and expects me to respond straight up with Him and not try to hide or go off topic. My words often hurt others because I don’t confront with love, or I try to evade the question with “cleverly crafted retorts” that are hollow and empty.

I’m so glad that Jesus knows what’s best for us, he gave everything so that we could be in relationship with Him, and everything He does, He does head on…I need to stay focused on what He wants me to deal with in my life. No subject changing with HIM!

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