Friday, May 24, 2013

God, I Want to Talk to You About Your Attitude

In my last post, I shared how my daughter called me on what she saw as an “attitude problem”. Now, I’m not groveling in guilt because my seven-year-old said she thinks I yell too much and get “all crazy”. I took her words to heart. I took an honest look at myself and how I interact with her. I concluded that yes, there is room for improvement. But I really don’t think my behavior is far over the top.

As I thought about that little exchange, though, it occurred to me that Rachel was doing something very much like we sometimes do with God. How so?

Let’s go back to Rachel, and that sample conversation I shared in the previous post. In that situation, there was something I had asked her to do. I even gave her time to wrap up what she was doing before she started the new task. She kept going…and going…and going…doing exactly what she wanted to do, and ignoring what she had been asked to do. Finally, when (yes, I admit it) I raised my voice at her, she reacted with a bad attitude of her own. She would have identified that as one of the times I supposedly got “all crazy”.

Isn’t it interesting how Rachel can repeatedly ignore what she is told to do, and then is surprised when something happens that she doesn’t like. She told me, “I like it when you use a sweet voice to talk to me.” 

Well…yeah. Of course, a sweet voice is more pleasant. But when the sweet voice is ignored, further steps will need to be taken, and things will go a different direction. Sometimes, that direction is not pleasant. (Yes, I know there are more effective steps to take than yelling, but that’s not my point here.)

My point is that we sometimes do the same thing with God. Oh we would probably never speak out anything like the title of this post. We are not likely to say outright, “God, I want to talk to You about Your attitude.” But maybe we do say that in other ways.

We do this when there is something we know we should do. We know it is right. But we delay…and delay…or outright refuse to do it.
God speaks gently, at first.

We ignore Him.

He speaks a little more strongly.

Again we delay.

He speaks to us through friends or family members who warn us we are heading the wrong way.

We find something else to hold our attention.

The situation starts to deteriorate. We see warning signs.

We still find some reason why we can’t take action now.

Finally, the situation itself degenerates to a place where natural consequences of our actions…or inaction…blow up in our faces.

And we say, “Why God? How could You let this happen?”
In so many words, we are saying, “God, You are doing it all wrong. You are getting all crazy on me here. I like it when You are gentle and sweet with me. I don’t like it when You let difficult things happen to me. I don’t like Your attitude!”

Let’s get real here. Some…not all…but some painful things happen to us because we have, for too long, ignored God’s sweet, gentle voice. He loves us so much, though, that He will do what is needed to get our attention and bring us back. Even when that means that He lets painful, natural consequences of our actions take their course.

Just as I urged Rachel to listen and respond to my gentle voice, let us also respond to God’s voice while it is still gentle. Suppose we fail to do that, and we experience the more painful consequences of our choice, let’s put the responsibility exactly where it belongs. When I find myself in that situation, I need to say to myself, "Julie, I need to talk to you about your attitude.”

Time for Reflection
  • Have you ever ignored God for so long that eventually, painful consequences blew up in your face? How did you respond? Blame God? Take responsibility?
  • Is there any area of your life right now where you have been ignoring God’s gentle voice, and things are escalating? If so, how do you need to respond today to get back on the right track?
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines
 Hebrews 12:6a


  1. Great point! Thanks for this timely article.

  2. Thanks for reading. I was writing to myself as much as to anyone else. Timely for me, too.

  3. I usually find myself in the place of saying "okay Lord, I get it!" I will be rocking along doing my own thing, knowing that I am on the wrong path but trying to ignore that gentle voice. Sooner or later He throws up a roadblock or two and I am forced to see my error and backtrack to find the path He intended for me to be on all along. Dang my stubborn human heart!

    1. I can certainly relate. I'm glad God helps us back on our feet and allows us the chance to get back on track....but how much trouble we could save ourselves if we'd just listen the first time around.


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