There it is again: those horrible feelings of rebellion, that I seem completely unable to stifle. The “I don’t care what my parents think, I don’t want to do it!” is back in full force, and I can’t seem to quench my snotty attitude. I love my parents—I really do—but this is more than I can handle! I’m just so sick of obeying!…Why?
In the midst of such feelings the tears come, and in the desperation aroused by my frustration and depression I beg the Lord to show me my sin. Where could I have gone wrong, that such emotions could gain a stronghold in my heart? Am I wrong to blame my parents? Am I wrong to seek my own way?
I want to share with you an answer to my perplexing questions—a cause for my strange feelings of dissatisfaction, the result of these feelings, and a solution to my frustration with my parents. These emotions are not the natural result of my parents’ actions. They are not caused by tyranny, overwork or flustering requests. They are caused by myself—in reality, they are the product of my own imagination.
Let’s begin with the cause. Rebellion starts with dissatisfaction—a dissatisfaction with myself. I am not pleased with who I am. Whether or not my frustrations ring true, I have come to feel that I am inadequate in some way.
I may be dissatisfied:
· With my appearance—I feel ugly, fat and unattractive. My face is broken out, my hair is straight and limp or frizzy, my nose is too long.
· With my wardrobe—I feel out of place in modest clothing, my outfits don’t fit well, or they simply do not flatter me. I am frustrated trying to find cute, comfortable, modest clothing that doesn’t look old ladyish and isn’t miles too big; I envy others around me.
· With my personality—I feel insecure, unconversational and uninteresting, I feel like a dead-beat, a bore. I feel like I simply don’t fit in—anywhere.
· With my intelligence—I feel stupid and slow. I am a failure: I just don’t have it. Others expect more of me than I can give; others are smarter than I am.
· With my talents—what talents? I am not actually good at anything. I try, but I simply have no time to work at or practice anything because my parents…whoops! Feeling a little rebellious am I?
Lastly, when I have become entirely dissatisfied with myself, my life, and anything else about me, I become unhappy in my spirit because I am starving it. But what stands in the way of my changing these areas that I feel unsuccessful in? Shall we say my parents, and the fact that I don’t run my own life? I can’t just turn the house topsy-turvy because I wake up in the morning feeling ugly.
And my parents? “Honey, you look fine!”
Ok, so I’m not so pleased with myself. Now let’s move on to step two—link this all together, and explain what the result of disatisfaction is! How in the world do “fat days” affect my obedience to my parents?
I have noticed, that when I am not satisfied with myself, it becomes very difficult for me to believe that anyone else is satisfied with me.
I hear “Honey, you look fine” but I know she is thinking, “Well, you really ought to lose about 10 pounds, and I don’t know what we’ll ever do about your acne! I really wish you would bring your math scores up, and stay on top of your chores, and your attitude stinks. I think you need to get right with the Lord.”
“I already know that, now would you just shut up!” I feel attacked, before my parents even say anything, because in my mind I am already defeated.
I am a failure. I have failed my parents.
I am a loser—a rotten loser. How could anyone like me? How could anyone enjoy spending time with me? Why would anyone want to put up with me?
I can’t do anything right. My family must think me a burden. I’m just a hump on a log, a disgrace to mankind.
I haven’t stopped loving my parents. I haven’t lost a desire to do well, to please them, to honor them.
I have merely given up.
I’m beat. Striving for success feels pointless. I can’t please my parents! Why try? I can’t succeed in anything! Why try? I can’t please God! Why try?
And all she said was “You look fine.”
She never expressed any dissatisfaction with me, or anything I had done. I imagined it, and the insecurity washed over me, causing the rebellion spring up.
It’s just not fair! I try to please them—they don’t care! Think of all the things I do, yet I get scolded for the one tiny responsibility that I happen to forget. It never ends—the same jobs over and over again, and nobody ever thanks me, nobody realizes how much I do! I am so sick of trying to be good! I am so sick of myself! I am so sick of this place! I am so sick of everything I do! I am so sick of my family! I just want out of here!
Like a slow burning fuse, the bitterness builds up until I snap.
And everyone stares at me in holy horror.
I can’t help it! I just feel ugly today!
Is it it possible that maybe I can help it? I believe there is a solution, if I will accept it.
But what can I do? I didn’t plan the rebellion. I didn’t want to explode. I don’t even know where these feelings came from! I’ve been submissively trying to cut out my rebellion, haven’t I? I’ve crushed it down every time it tried to rise, haven’t I? I haven’t been trying to nurse resentment, have I? So why in the world can’t I conquer myself?
There is a reason—a good one, even. I can’t cure my problem, because I am attacking the symptom, not the cause. Every time a weed of rebellion popped up, I cut it down. But the root of bitterness and dissatisfaction continued to grow. Rebellion will come up again in other areas, and I can keep cutting it out, but the root will keep growing until it explodes. I need to attack the root, and the first step is locating it.
Thankfully, I now know where the problem lies, due to much prayer and fasting. This doesn’t mean that stamping it out is easy. There are many things about myself that I am unable to change—ever.
· I will never be taller than God intended me to be. I can’t change the shape of my face, or the build of my figure.
· Modesty is a must, though my culture makes it very difficult and awkward.
· My personality is there—it is my identity. I can hone it, but I can never change it.
· My intelligence has a limit. I can work hard, but I will never be a genius. It just isn’t there.
· If I just don’t have certain talents, I just don’t have them!
· I can’t change the unchangeable.
But I can be yielded. I may not be satisfied with myself through the eyes of the world, but I need to remind myself who I am through Christ.
Why would He love me? I can’t see a logical reason, but He does. He sees the future, and he will perfect me…in His time.
Basically, my rebellion boils down to a lack of trust. I am not trusting God to work through my parents. I am not trusting God to complete what He has begun. I am not trusting God to change me. I am not trusting the God who made me.
I simply need to shift my focus from what I can’t do, to what He has done, and the weed will wither and die—from the root up.
The rebel can submit.