Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"I Can Do It Myself, Gammie!" Revisited


Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

I have altered this post, which was originally featured here on January 19th of this year, because it so aptly fit Chapter Eight in Jerry Bridges' book, The Discipline of Grace.  If you've read the post before, please bear with me, and see for yourself how the lessons resonate.

My husband, Danny, and I have our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, over to spend a Friday night with us.  We wanted to have her in the worst way over the Christmas holidays, but because everyone in her household was sick, we couldn't risk it.  So it's been a while since we've spent any one-on-one time with our little angel, and we are looking forward to every minute together.

The biggest change I observe in Virginia is her self-assured demeanor.  It's not that she hasn't displayed confidence in the past; she is always willing to try new things, but now she firmly verbalizes her self-reliance.

"I can do it myself, Gammie."

I hear that phrase time and time again, whether it's breaking eggs into the cookie mixture, stirring in the M&Ms, placing teaspoons of dough on the baking sheets, lugging a board game upstairs from its storage place in the downstairs closet, readying the game for a round of fun, or changing into pajamas, the mantra repeats.

"I can do it myself, Gammie."

But where Virginia's declared confidence truly shines is when she insists she can clean up after having her way with flour play on the kitchen counter.  This Gammie is skeptical (and, yes, I do help some), but I'm amazed at how much she is able to accomplish without a smidgen of help from me.



















Not bad for a five-year-old!

While I understand how important it is for children to develop their abilities and skills, the "do-it-myself" mentality can become an obstacle, a stumbling block, to their spiritual and emotional growth down life's road.  Children must also learn that asking for help when the task before them is daunting is not a sign of weakness or shame.  It is life-giving.

In Chapter Eight of The Discipline of Grace, author, Jerry Bridges, writes:  "If we are to make any progress in the pursuit of holiness, we must assume our responsibility to discipline and train ourselves.  But we are to do all this in the total dependence on the Holy Spirit to work in us and strengthen us with the strength that is in Christ."

Virginia, observing and then following the actions taught her, is learning to discipline and train herself.  But the challenge remains for her parents and grandparents to show her the path that leads to holiness.  The path that leads to dependence upon the Holy Spirit, the One who inspires and enables her to have the strength and determination to complete the work to which God has called her.

Life-long, life-giving dependence.

The best kind there is.

Amen.

~



For the next five weeks, I will be participating in a study of Jerry Bridges' The Discipline of Grace.  It is facilitated by fellow Christian bloggers, Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, who invite you to read the book along with us.  Join me here next Wednesday for a new reflection.  God bless!

14 comments:

  1. We had a version of this with our oldest (who's now 36). "I do it! I do it!" was one of his most common expressions. Sometimes we had to let him try so he could learn.

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    1. Yes, Glynn, we do have to let them try, don't we? Little ones so want to imitate their elders; just another reason we have to set good examples for them.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. Love this story and those sweet pics ... our 5 and 7 year olds are coming for a few days ... and you've made me smile in anticipation, Martha!

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    1. Oh, how exciting, Linda! I know you are so looking forward to having your grandchildren with you. There's nothing more fun, is there?
      Love and blessings!

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  3. You weave great messages around such cute images of our 'doll'!
    -Portia

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    1. You are too sweet, Portia!
      Yes, I'll have to agree with you - Virginia Rose is a doll, indeed. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Beautiful, simply beautiful Martha. There is something to be said for doing things for ourselves, no matter our age. However, it's important too, the realization that we never get too old to not need help. Christian discipline seems to work so much better in community.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Kim, I love your observation that Christian discipline seems to work better in community, hence, the church. I know there are many Christian who are disenchanted with church for whatever the reason, but it is definitely a place we need to be to help with our accountability to the Lord.
      Hoping to return to our church this Sunday after a necessary leave of absence.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. I wish my kids would have a more "I can do it myself" attitude on some things, especially when it comes to cleaning! Ha! But it's true it can become a trap and very real problem. Total dependence--that's the only answer. Thanks Martha, and that little girl is a real cutie. :)

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    1. I hear you, Jason! Getting my kids to clean was always a monumental effort, but eventually, they learned and did a fairly decent job.
      And being totally dependent upon God is the only answer if we truly wish to live in His freedom.
      I'll let Virginia know you think she's a cutie, too. :)
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Great lessons as always Martha.

    I used to think that I could do it all myself :) but now know better. I do what I can but leave the rest up to Him. And yes, we need guides and mentors in our lives to guide us on the path to holiness.

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    1. Thanks so much, Vishnu!
      Yes, we do need those guides and mentors, men and women of God who can point the way and make all the difference in our spiritual lives.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. My daughter used to say, "me do it MEself." Oh, what precious memories your post brought to mind, while teaching a wonderful lesson: to disciple and train ourselves AND to be dependent on Christ.

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    1. Your daughter sounds just like Virginia, Beckie. I think all small children take pride in their new-found abilities to do things the adults do. But we do need to teach them all about God who enables them to accomplish all things, great and small.
      Love and blessings!

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