~threatening email forwards
~chain letters with dire warnings
~worship leaders who instruct you on what to do (now everyone raise your hands!)
Basically anything where someone is trying to guilt trip, peer pressure or trick me into doing something. It may be something I would have quite happily done on my own, until I realized someone was trying to guilt trip, peer pressure or trick me into doing it. I just hate being bossed. I’m more likely to dig in my heels and do the opposite, just to prove I can.
Pass this e-mail on if you really love puppies (or cancer victims, or your mommy, or Jesus) and suddenly I’m feeling an inexplicable irritation with puppies, cancer victims and even my mom (still love Jesus).
Seven years of bad luck if I don’t forward this letter and a thrifty crock pot recipe to 14 of my closest friends and neighbours. Bring it on! Perhaps I should break a mirror and open an umbrella inside while I’m at it.
“Sing loudly if you love the Lord!” Without fail my inner Quaker awakens, craving silent contemplation.
I recall telling an overeager family member that if she wants me to be receptive, it would be better for her advice to sound more like a suggestion than an order. I’m not sure she realizes how often her strident opinions cause me to take the exact opposite side, regardless of what I actually believe. Because you can’t MAKE me do anything.
I love free will! And I would love to see others embrace it. Not their own, of course, but MY WILL… especially my children. I am drawn to the parenting books and systems that promise cheerful, obedient children in a convenient one-size-fits-all. Some of them have value and may even work. Ring a bell and your children will immediately drool… wait, I think that had something to do with dogs?
I know in theory that the best form of discipline for my children is self-discipline, but that takes time, insight and a whole lot of failure to develop. There are days when giving my children the opportunity to make good choices (or bad and face the consequences) is exhausting. And I am tempted to manipulate, pressure or trick them into doing what I want.
Free will is God’s thing. I’m sure He would have saved a lot of time and trouble if He chose to simply impose His will on all humanity. Instead, we struggle, and learn, and fail, and start over again. And He never stops loving us, no matter how messy we get. I can’t think of a better parent to emulate.
So here’s me, composing an opening to this blog post. How about: If you love Jesus, freedom and puppy dogs, you WILL repost this at least 3 times.