Yesterday at church, I listened to the last of a 4-session conference by Norm Wakefield on marriage. The first three sessions were good, but certain points from the last one have really stuck with me. He talked about idolatry in a way that I had to really work at understanding. He said that anytime we are trying to get something out of others that is something God should be supplying, we are idolizing. This took a while to sink in but the more he talked, the more I got it. He pointed out that we manipulate and control people with our words, actions, etc. to get what we want, and when we don't get what we want, we don't really want to invest in them anymore. This really spoke to me concerning some of my closest relationships. He talked about how he and his wife were headed toward divorce after 7-8 years of marriage because they had been carving on each other and manipulating one another for years. He defined carving as the times when you use positive things like smiles, compliments, acts of service or negative things like malice, anger, pouting to get what you want. Of course the positive things can be very positive if they're not being used to get what you want.
All this left me with a lot to ponder and I was thankful for that. But one example in my own life really stood out. Last week, a few days of the week during Luke's naptime, he'd nonchalantly wander out of his room to find me reading on the couch. "What's up, Mom?" he's say. To which I would answer, "You need to be taking a nap." Then,"I want to give you a kiss." While I get my kiss, he hugs me and says I'm the best mommy ever. Of course this melted my heart the first day and he must've overheard me talking about it to a friend or Pup. Anyway, as much as I want to believe he loves me that much, he was manipulating me! Today, he came out and wanted to visit. Of course I want to visit with him, but not during naptime:) I guess my lesson learned is that this manipulation/carving stuff starts EARLY.Not only do I need to be aware of my carving of other people but also and especially my children.