Whenever I get a text before 8 in the morning, it's usually from a family member. And more often than not, it's from one of my college kids just saying hello from afar. But this morning's early text was different. It was my high schooler with a request - "Any chance you can drop off my USB to me by 10:45? If not, it's cool."
Oh man, I thought. He's forgotten an important document that he needs for a class.... but c'mon, drop off his USB to him before 10:45? I'd be deep into checking out picture books at the elementary school library where I work by then. I hurriedly looked at the clock and realized that if I flew out the door at that very second, I would have just enough time to get to the high school and back and still make it to work on time (I work a minute from home - no lights and only one stop sign.)
Initially I was frustrated that I had to make this unexpected trip, but I realized in the next moment that my son had redeemed himself thoroughly when he said, "If not, it's cool." My heart smiled. There was no demand there. No "you'd better do this for me" kind of attitude. Not a hint of insisting I change my plans to accomodate him. He was totally letting me off the hook if I couldn't do it - he realized it was his fault, his mistake, his error if he didn't get what was on that USB in time for his 10:45 class. He was just asking for some help if would work out okay for me.
As we moms know, I would have run the flash drive down to him no matter what. If it's in my power to help out my kids when they're stuck with something, I do. But the very fact that he tagged his request as he did made me want to do it for him all the more. And I plan to mention that to him when I see him after school because I think it's a good life skill to use on a lot of people besides just your mom.
It made me think of how I approach God when I come to Him with my laundry list of needs, requests, and, dare I say, sometimes demands. Just as I love to help any of my children when they need something, how much more our heavenly Father loves to help us when we are coming to Him with our wants. But how do I ask him? Do I throw in a "You need to do this for me right now" kind of tone, or do I come to Him saying, "I really think I need this, and if You can help me out, that would be awesome; if not, it's cool."
I think it's good for our hearts if we have a tag phrase in there that lets God off the hook if He doesn't produce in the way we think He should. I would be wise to realize that it is not His fault that I've gotten myself into some of the messes I have. He's not to blame, but I sure come expecting Him to fix things right up so that my day can go on uninterrupted.
The next time I have a request, I'll still ask God for it. But this time I'll allow myself to remember who's really in control and whatever answer I get, it'll be cool.