One of the toddlerhood stories my mom used to tell me about myself was that I always had an independent spirit – that “me do” mentality. I didn’t want anyone to help me with things, until I tried to do it myself.
I carried that “me do” spirit with me all through my school days. As a teenager in Girl Scouts, I refused to fall for the “left-handed smoke shifter” initiation, taking my little band of fellow initiates with me on a scavenger hunt to find objects to make one. When we finally came back, everyone was a trifle upset because we stayed away so long. Even the leaders were worried. Oh the secret glee I felt that we had “won.”
Like a pair of well-worn pair of slippers, I brought my “me do” spirit right into my Christian walk. I didn’t want to ask the Lord for help without trying to find the answers on my own first. Each time I prayed, I had my own Plan B as a back up in case he didn’t answer me.
But ultimately as an abuse survivor, God had to confront that “me do” attitude, helping me to learn it was really an attitude of pride and fear rather than trust. In the depths of my heart, I didn’t believe I deserved God’s help and feared that he wouldn’t always be there for me if I asked him for the things I needed.
My good buddies, the Israelites must have felt that way too. Here in Exodus 16 God is trying to teach them trust and to heal their abuse-damaged emotions. Still, they insist on doing things their own way. “Me-do, me-do,” seemed to be their battle cry as they gathered their manna.
Moses said to them, “Let no one save any of it until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it until morning. And worms grew in it and it became bad to eat. So Moses was angry with them. Morning after morning they gathered it, every man as much as he could eat. But when the sun became hot, it would melt.
On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two jars for each person. When all the leaders of the people came and told Moses, he said to them, “This is what the Lord said: ‘Tomorrow is a time of rest, a holy Day of Rest to the Lord. Make ready the food you will need for today. Then put aside what is left to be kept until morning.’” So they put it aside until morning, as Moses told them. And it did not become bad to eat, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, “Eat it today. For today is a Day of Rest to the Lord. Today you will not find it in the field. Six days you will gather it. But on the seventh day, the Day of Rest, there will be none.” On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it. But they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How much longer will you go against My Word and My Laws? See, the Lord has given you the Day of Rest. This is why He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Every man should stay home and not leave his place on the seventh day.30 So the people rested on the seventh day. Exodus 16: 19-30 NLV
God gave them specific instructions on how to deal with this heavenly bread. Yet, they still didn’t trust him to provide for their needs, even though he had shown them several times that he would!
But God knew their hearts. What they were really saying was, “We know God can take care of us, but we’re just not sure he will always take care of us. Just in case God turns on us, punishes us like the Egyptians and withholds food from us, we will take care of ourselves.” Their pride and fear taught them to become invisible to God – to step out of his radar, so to speak – rather than to live freely in his presence.
Do you trust God’s provision and blessings? Or do you fear he won’t be there for you? Do you always try to take care of yourself so you won’t get hurt again, “just in case” God doesn’t help you?
God has a specific plan to help us lose the pride and fear of that “me do” mentality that causes us to take control of our own lives and to refuse his help. But it requires our obedience to his plan. How has he done that in your life?