I remember playing tug of war at camp as a teenager. Sometimes the leaders would put girls against the guys, or leaders against kids, or young against old. Usually in the middle a line would be drawn...or better yet a muddy pit for the losing team to fall in head over heels. Usually the team that won was the more organized, thoughtful, strategic team. The team that won had someone who took charge, whose voice boomed loudly for all to hear and who had the consistent strength to pull rhythmically in a pattern of heave ho heave ho.
So, after Savannah came to me a few months ago and told me she needed to talk to me about something God was tugging on her heart to do, I began to realize how many times that tugging on our hearts can lead to an all out war with the enemy. Savannah is young in her faith, her heart is tender to pleasing the Lord, she's beginning to ask questions that require more than a chapter and verse answer, she's feeling a little tug of war going on in her spirit.
Her: Mom, I feel God is tugging on my heart to help in Awana next year.
Me: What do you mean?
Her: Well, it's just like when I pray to God at the end of the prayer there's always this thought about Him wanting me to help in Awana.
Me: Do you want to help in Awana?
Her: Well, I think so, I mean, but, I'm not old enough to really do anything big (insert the first tug), and I wouldn't get to sit in church (insert second tug), and I probably wouldn't get to see my friends (tug)....
Me: But if God is tugging on your heart to do something He has something planned that you don't want to miss. Maybe there is someone younger that needs a friend like you? What if you can help a child learn God's Word? What if you can ease the burden of an adult worker who just needs an extra set of hands. What if God has something special for YOU while you serve Him? (insert TUG TUG TUG TUG)
And so it began...the first real struggle I saw take place. Weighing the consequences for following Jesus and responding to His call. I suggested she talk with our children's director at church to see what positions might be available for her to volunteer. We set up an appointment and she went. I wanted her to seek the wise counsel of another trustworthy adult in her life. Mrs. Melinda responded with the appropriate amount of seriousness that ministry requires and the right dose of excitement.
What did Savannah decide? Well, she listened to the loudest voice that was whispering during her prayer time, the one that consistently called her name above all others. The one who had a strategy to capture her heart. Was it easy? No, and while you may think this is insignificant because of her age, I assure you, it has impacted me far more than she will ever know...so maybe, just maybe, this tug of war was more about the spectator. Watching how God wooed her was beautiful. She'll be working with some cute Cubbies in the fall.
As a parent I want to train my kids to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit. I want them to understand there is a tug of war going on for their soul, for their affections, for their time, talents and bodies. As they get older, some of these decisions will be made with little input from me, so now's the time to do the training. Now's the time to do the work that they will remember:
1. Listen during prayer time...what's God telling/asking of you?
2. Respond to that voice..
3. Tell someone- so you have accountability
4. Seek the counsel of someone older/wiser
5. Evaluate the possibilities
6. Respond to His Call
God uses His children...whether you're 10 or 110. We glorify Him by being available, open and willing to hear and respond to His tugs on our heart...no matter what our age. Will Savannah or me or you always respond correctly?? Doubtful. But knowing how to cope when the all our war for you is going on, is the first step to being a good warrior. Cause nobody plans to fall in the mud pit.