By Brenda Blanchard
“I’m going to start water aerobics this month,” I said to my husband, Nelson.
“Sure, Honey, whatever you say.” He didn’t move his eyes from the football game on the television screen.
“No, I mean it. I’m signing up today.”
“Great.” Eyes still concentrated on the 27” screen.
I walked from the room with a scowl on my face and headed straight to the chester drawers in my bedroom.
What’s his problem? He doesn’t think I’ll really do it.
I pulled open a drawer and threw clothes onto the bed.
I know I packed them in the bottom of this drawer. No, maybe I put them under the bed in a garment bag. Maybe a box in the garage.I rushed to the bed and bent down on my knees. Throwing up the dust ruffle, I peered under the bed and grabbed one of the storage bags.
“Why doesn’t he believe me?” I mumbled as I unzipped the bag. “He knows I’m not a liar.”
I zipped the bag and shoved it under the bed.
Dear Lord, please help me to understand Nelson’s nonchalant attitude towards my decision to exercise. I thought he’d be happy and supportive. Show me, Lord, why he seems doubtful as to my sincerity. And also, help me to find my swimsuit and workout clothes. Amen.
Standing to my feet, the parable about the boy who cried wolf too many times came to my remembrance. I walked to the living room and positioned myself next to Nelson on the couch.
“Do you know the parable about the boy who cried wolf too many times?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I don’t know if it was a boy or a sheep.” He then proceeded to tell his recollection of the parable using a sheep as the lead character. “The point is when the sheep really meant what he said, no one believed him.”
“Kind of like you not believing me about working out because I’ve been talking about water aerobics for a couple of years now.”
He reached his arm over my shoulders and pulled me close to his side. “Yeah, kind of like that.” He laughed.
Most of us have said something we don’t follow through on. And many of these comments come with a good motive behind them. Husbands and wives may boast of some plan to be completed within the month and then repeating that same plan the following month and the following month and so on. The intention may be real, but the seed of doubt planted with a verbal declaration grows with each unfulfilled plan. Children, too, make promises to siblings or parents which don’t come to fruition when planned or in some cases, never pass.
We must examine our hearts and decide the motives behind the commitments we make verbally. Most of the time, we don’t really mean any harm by speaking our desires aloud, but “faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26) As members of a family, me must be prepared to move from words to action. It’s nice to hear words like, “I love you,” but it’s even nicer to see that love in action. For example: Put gas in your mate’s car; warm it up for him or her on a cold, wintry day; place a card in your child’s backpack, telling him or her how much you care; kiss your parents hello and goodbye even if you’re in public.
As I sat with Nelson’s arm around me, I realized not only do I tell my husband my good intentions and not fulfill them, but I also say similar things to God. In my quiet time, I often tell Him how much He means to me and how much I love Him. Then when the opportunity comes to witness to others, I make excuses for not sharing Him. I rationalize my disobedience for fear of rejection or anger or pride or…
I tell the Lord that I’m going to walk where He wants me to, but then I go where I choose to go. I say, “I’m your vessel; do as you will with me. Let your Spirit show through me,” but then I act impatient to the cashier having register problems or honk my horn angrily at the motorist who looks lost as to his proper turn.
The list is different for each of us, but thank God our God shows mercy and places His arm around us in our failed intentions. Yes, “the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” However, I’m thankful our Father renews us with His love each day and continues fellowshipping with us, knowing through growth in Him, actions will follow.
I kissed my husband’s cheek. “Thanks for loving me even when I fail to do what I say.”
He leaned forward and reached in his back pocket. A black wallet flipped open with one quick flex of his hand. He took two twenties and placed them in my hand.
“Why don’t you go buy yourself a new swimsuit and a cover up?” Nelson smiled. “I’m believing you’re really going to join an aerobics class today.”
Brenda Blanchard, founder of The Door of Hope Ministries and Sisters in Christ Bible Studies, speaks and writes practical messages to encourage a one-on-one relationship with Jesus. See www.brendablanchard.com Brendablanchard1@aol.com