"Mom, can I help you make dinner?” Inspired by episodes of Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, my eldest child is often eager to “help” his dad or me prepare meals. This certainly leads to a great time in the kitchen together, but is it really help? If you consider the extra time and large mess that often results, probably not.
Similarly, when we ask our kids to help fold the clean clothes, the end result often looks more like origami than folded laundry. Was this help? Um . . . not so much.
Though I value training my kids to help out around the house, let me be honest: sometimes their “help” is the very last thing I want. It often creates more work for me as I try to straighten out the resulting mess.
My fiercely independent five-year-old daughter frequently exhibits another response to help. If I try to help her put on her shoe before she asks, she’s furious. “I can do it!” If she falls down and I try to help her up, “I can do it!” And in many situations when she clearly needs help, she’s reticent to receive it—so determined to show that she’s “a big girl” and can handle it herself.
As they so often do, in both of these help-scenarios, my kids teach me quite a bit about my own relationship with God. How often is my life like a chaotic kitchen or a disastrous laundry pile as I try to “help” God solve a problem or address a need? How often do I end up making a mess of things rather than relying on him to handle things in his power and timing?1
When the Last Thing You Want Is Help
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