Learning To Say I Do
Gus Exerts His Will
Justin: It is interesting to see Gus’ personality really start to emerge. Over the past couple of weeks he has been beginning to exert his own free will.
I can’t prove it, but my intuition has started to tell me that he knows when he is doing something he is not supposed to be doing. For example, Gus is fascinated with the vertical blinds in our dining room. He likes to go over and pull on them. The problem is that he pulls the individual strips out of the blinds.
Obviously, he is not old enough for discipline to work, but we have been trying to teach him to stop by walking over to him, firmly saying “Gus stop”, and then picking him up and moving him to another location in the room.
He seems to be getting the message. Now, often all we will have to do is stand up, walk over to him, and say “Gus” in a firm voice and he will move on to another toy.
Then, one day last week a small thing occurred. Gus was playing with the blinds as normal. I walked over and Gus stopped on command. However, this time he only moved about a foot away from the blinds. I could tell he was thinking about those blinds so I sat down to watch him. He waited and watched me until he thought I wasn’t paying attention and then he went back over to the blinds. I immediately called his name and he stopped. Then he sat quietly watching me for a moment, waiting for me to look the other direction. I played along, looking the other direction, just to see what he would do.
Instantly he was back at the blinds. This time I called “Gus” but there was no response. I called again, “Gus! Gus! Stop!” This time he responded by lowering his head as if to avoid eye contact. As I bent down and picked him up, I could see a big grin and just that little glint of mischievousness in his eyes that seemed to say, “I thought I could get away with it if I pretended not to hear you!”
While in many ways it was really cute, I was surprised by the surge of emotion I felt. To my own surprise I felt a bit hurt by my son’s apparent disobedience. It was one of his first real acts of willfulness (and I know there will be many more with much graver consequences).
Then I felt a real sadness, as I realized this is often the way I interact with God my Father. I wondered if each of my sins causes this same twinge of pain in his heart. At the same time I realized the twinge must be much deeper and more painful because my acts of willfulness are so much larger.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but be thankful that God loves me as much (and even more) than I love Gus, and that he is always willing to offer me forgiveness for my faults.
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