“I’m watching you.”
These words from my 2-year-old immediately triggered in my mind the lyrics to The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.
TMI alert: I was shaving my legs at the time. I’m hoping we have years before we have to talk about why.
Her declaration was not news to me, but it did remind me that my actions, words and attitudes don’t go unnoticed. She also takes note when I wear makeup, brush my teeth, comb and dry my hair, and wear deodorant. I can see the little wheels in her head turning, wondering why Mommy does these things, some of which she doesn’t do yet. Last week, she was playing Mommy to her baby doll, feeding her, putting her facedown on a mat to do “tummy time” and strapping her into the bouncy seat.
Yes, indeed; I’m being watched.
I’ve heard people call little ones of this age “sponges.” I can’t think of a more apt word. While I hope she’s absorbing healthy attitudes, kind words and beneficial practices, I’m too fallen to deny that she also picks up criticisms, unkind words, poor attitudes, frustrations and bad habits.
Fortunately, we haven’t seen many of the latter develop in her yet. I don’t want to be a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do parent, so I think the next 10 (15? 20? more?) years of my life is going to be a time for God to continually show me where I can improve in these areas. In the end, I know I’ll be better for it, not only as a parent but as a Christian seeking to share the love of Christ with others.
Because I don’t want to be a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do Christian either. I want my life and words to match, and at times, for my life to speak louder than my words. As with my daughter, I know any inconsistency in my life will be an easy target for anyone not following Christ to continue not following Him.
The apostle Peter spoke of this in relation to husbands and wives: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” (1 Peter 3:1)
I love the idea that a life lived purely and reverently can win over someone who does not believe. I fall so short of that, but I pray that God can take the imperfect life I offer Him and make something of it.
Paul, also, in giving instruction to Timothy, advised him about the importance of his behavior: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16)
“Watch your life.” In my house, I need no greater reminder because if I don’t watch my life closely, someone else surely will. And will what she sees draw her nearer to Christ?
Lord, I hope so.