My girls have had a tough time making good choices lately, especially when it comes to sleep. They refuse to nap, choosing to giggle beneath the blankets with each other in the top bunk instead. Then they wake up in the middle of the night to do the same thing. For hours.
As the days progress, I see their ability to function dwindling exponentially. First goes the patience. Then the kindness. Then the respectfulness. The obedience. The focus and ability to understand things. The ability to think of others instead of themselves. Everything. Everything goes out the window with each decision not to sleep.
And that’s not even counting the physical effects of sleep deprivation.
Recently, during a particularly unfortunate “nap” session, their racquet woke their baby brother, who also needed to rest.
I propped him on my hip and wiped his tiny, runny nose. “Sad choices have sad consequences,” I reminded the girls. “You’ve chosen to hurt your own bodies by not resting, and now that sad choice has also hurt your brother.”
“Sorry, Mommy,” they said in unison.
“The only way we can go to gymnastics tonight is if you rest and give your body energy. I’ll give you one more chance to make a wise choice. ”
“Okay!” They scurried to their beds and squeezed their eyes shut tight.
Gymnastics, to my girls, is the pinnacle of the week. When that day comes along, they wake up and announce to the house, “TODAY IS GYMNASTICS DAY!” Joy pours out of them in such great quantities, they have to bounce and run so they don’t explode with the emotion. And, when it’s time to go, they actually listen when I tell them to get in the van. That’s the real indicator of their love for the activity.
And I, as their mom, want to give them things they love. I want to take care of them—of their bodies, and of their wants and needs.
But the moment I closed the door behind me, little footsteps stomped up the steps to the top bunk. Then came the giggling.
My heart sank with devastation. I wanted to give them gymnastics. All they had to do was choose it.
But they didn’t.
As I opened their bedroom door, I knew what I had to do. “Girls, we can’t go to gymnastics today.”
Without a word, they rolled out of the bed and started walking out of the room. No emotion. No reaction. Nothing.
I squinted in confusion as they filed past me. “Are you not really, really sad right now?”
They both shrugged. “No.”
My boggled mind tried to make sense of this. “You mean none of this makes you sad? Hurting your brother by not letting him rest? Losing gymnastics?”
Their little shoulders shrugged again. They weren’t being difficult, they were simply being honest.
The consequences to their sad choices were somehow not making them sad. No wonder they keep making those choices over and over again.
I know my sin is a sad choice. That it separates me from God and hurts the body of Christ.
But do I really let that sink in?
What if every time I sinned, I felt the sharp, searing pain of a nail grinding through my wrist? Or heard the agonized cry of the One who took those blows for me? Or understood the gravity of being separated from the only One who makes me feel whole?
Then, maybe, I’d have a better understanding of the devastation that comes from my sad choices.
But instead, I often sin and then keep moving on with life—without emotion or reaction—ready to go do whatever’s next.
As the sins progress, it can be difficult for me to see myself becoming less like Christ. But it’s there. First goes the patience. Then the kindness. Then the respectfulness. The obedience. The focus and ability to understand things. The ability to think of others instead of myself. Everything. Everything goes out the window with each sin.
Then I forge a way past my Father as I go, leaving Him behind me to feel the weight of the devastation.
“Are you not really, really sad right now?” He asks.
I shrug in apathy. “No.”
“None of this makes you sad? The nails in my wrist? The wound in my side? Hurting your brothers and sisters because of your sad choices?”
I shrug my shoulders again. I’m not being difficult, I’m simply being honest.
The consequences to my sad choices somehow don’t make me as sad as they should. It’s no wonder I keep making those choices over and over again.
God, as our Father, wants to give us things we love. He wants to take care of us—of our bodies, and of our greatest desires and needs. He wants to give us Himself.
All we have to do is choose it.