a short test given to a class by a teacher,
without prior warning or announcement.
Pop Quizzes. I failed both of them! (Along with some others I haven't mentioned here.)
Life's pop quizzes are opportunities to look at the deeper aspects of our own behavior: mixed motives, hidden agendas, inordinate attachments, and errors in thinking. Life's pop quizzes reveal that, however hidden they may be from us, our fault lines are present and active; and having an effect on our behavior and choices. Besides, other people can often recognize them. And are hurt by them.
So, my recent pop quizzes have been opportunities to look again at one of my major fault lines: obstinance. I have this thing about not liking to be corrected or questioned. It feels like someone is trying to control me, or tell me what to do. This is something that's more than likely present in every human being, but for me it goes straight to the heart of my wound--that wound created by having a controlling parent.
But understanding that is not enough. As a child of God, I am still responsible for my reactions to others. I am still called to be free. It's lifelong faith formation, and I believe that I have an agreement with God that He can do with my life as He wishes. So I have to keep growing up.
Oswald Chambers drives home the exact way our relationship to Christ is impacted by obstinance when he says that "When you get to the right state on the inside, the word which Jesus has spoken is so plain that you are amazed you did not see it before. There must be communion with His risen life before a particular word can be borne by us. An obstinate outlook will effectually hinder God from revealing anything to us."
I want to hear and see God. I want to carry what God "tells" me into every aspect of my life. Trying to do better is not enough. It's a matter of allowing my heart to be changed. It's an inside job.
So, I continue to watch for life's pop quizzes, and try to be grateful for them, even when I fail. Maybe it's my failure that gets my attention, after all. Maybe it's my failure that provides a door to the change of heart I long to experience. A door to freedom.