Thursday, March 13, 2008

Share and Share Alike

I am always amazed at how strongly toddlers feel about relinquishing their rights to a toy they are enjoying.

Sharing is not something that comes easily. We are born with a very selfish, sinful nature and this is never more evident then when watching two-year-old children trying to interact. "That's mine!" and "I want it!" are being shouted, while toddlers yank each other back and forth in hopes to free an otherwise occupied toy.

More often than not, my sweet Park is smack dab in the middle of that tug-of-war action. He is so very passionate, a go-getter to the very core of his being. Oh, how I love that little boy and his precious zest for life.

A few days ago, one of Park's favorite playmates came over to spend the day with us. Cooper's mommy, my sweet friend Bonnie, recently gave birth to a new baby boy, and it was a win-win situation for both of us to have the boys entertain each other for a bit. They played and played, laughing and enjoying their time thoroughly. Although they get along extremely well, in keeping with the nature of a 2 year old, there were some teachable moments involving the sharing of a coveted guitar.

I set a timer for the boys and we discussed how each one would get a chance to enjoy the instrument before the bell signaled that it was time for an exchange. It was somewhat humorous to me as I watched Park painstakingly attempt to keep his hands off the toy until his appointed play time. The poor little guy was having such an internal struggle as he battled his innate desire to rip it out of Cooper's arms in order to comply with the opposing directions I had given him. He was so anxious that his sweet little hands were actually trembling in anticipation.

But, alas, he made it until the timer rang and he was so proud of himself for the accomplishment.

"It feels so good to do the right thing," I reminded them both, as I distributed a round of high fives and hugs. While doing so a picture that Park had colored at church caught my attention from it's place on our refrigerator. The message on it brought a smile to my face.
What a relief to know that God helps us with this because I have to admit that I have trouble sharing, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, you won't find me cat fighting over a toy if you come over to our house for a play date. And I have no problem lending a book or sharing maternity clothes with an expecting friend. Things that cost me little are not that hard to give up. No, my sharing issues are more inconspicuous and covert.

They tend to emerge when I am asked to sacrifice or get out of my comfort zone.

Am I willing to share my time when there is nothing I can gain by doing so?
Am I willing to share an ear with a long winded acquaintance?
Am I willing to share my home with someone that needs a place to live?
Am I willing to share my finances with those who are less fortunate?
Am I willing to share my talents and gifts through volunteering at church?
Am I willing to share my testimony with an unbelieving neighbor?
Am I willing to share my heart with God by daily spending time in His Word?

Sacrificing in any way or putting someone else's needs above my own does not come naturally. Nor is it something I can do on my own. Thankfully, though, I don't have to because of the simple truth that God helps me share. Just as I aid in teaching Park, the Holy Spirit is at work within me, leading and equipping me to be more like Christ. But also like Park, I often face an internal struggle when trying to obey, forcing me to suppress my own selfish desires to follow His leadings.

Oh, but the joy I experience when I am successful at following the tugs of the Holy Spirit. It isn't always easy, but it sure "feels so good to do the right thing".

Thank you Jesus, for showing me more of yourself through Park. Examine my heart and get rid of whatever is not pleasing. You are the ultimate example of sacrifice, sharing your very own Son with a sinner like me. It is my prayer that as I grow to be more like you, my son will come to know Yours.


raenette said...

All I can say is Thank you! I have to share this with other moms. Thank you!!

Kelly said...

What a great post!

I love the way God uses our children to teach us so much:-)

Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

I really loved this post.

First off I use the timer for EVERYTHING. My son seems to need warming up to any idea of change in his activities, so it is a lifesaver.

Secondly I loved how you paralleled it to us sharing. Let me say God recently got me in an area that was tough and I pray that I passed his test. Our recent neighbors (Just moved out) did not have a car or a phone .THey were always coming over to use the phone, and would stay for hours talking to us. I had to learn to share my time.

Also, they needed a ride to work almost daily and God had to teach SELFISH ME how to be unselfish and unlazy. So in the middle of my lunches with my 2 yr old ,and 8 mo old I would stop to take her to work, and realize that sometimes people need a little help in life, and that my life does not simply reovolve around me, and my boys, and my family.

A tough reality to realize sometimes, but very true. Hopefully if/when something else comes up like this I will remember that I am here to do the Lords work not just my own agenda.

That neighbor was not a CHristian and I just pray that during all those drives, and even one 25 min ride to and from the mall that our conversations about my beliefs, and life, and her life will somehow plant a seed that someone near her now can help to grow....

Amy said...

This is so timely for me. I am so selfish with my free time each week while my two young ones are in preschool. I feel I have "earned" the break.

Anyway, a dear friend is very ill and needs help caring for her three young children. I was feeling frustrated to lose my free time, but your words really changed my heart and helped me to realize how selfish I was being for not helping her with a happy heart and spirit. The Lord is constantly working on me in this area of selfishness and sacrifice and I pray that God will continue to help me share what He has so generously blessed me with.

Your insight and transparency is so very much appreciated.

Amy said...

And - thanks for the advice on removing the undesired comment on my blog. I was able to delete it!