As most people that read this blog know, I am a behavioral therapist that works with autistic children. I have been in this line of work for six and a half years , and most days, I really enjoy what I do. Currently on Friday mornings, I work with a sometimes rambunctious little girl that is very high functioning. On occasion, a therapist will have a clinician or associate clinician come by either to observe a session, do an evaluation on a therapist or introduce new programs for a client. Today the associate clinician on this particular case was there, and during this session, she introduced a new program called self-monitoring. The goal of this program is to increase the client’s rate of compliance and make being compliant something that is reinforcing for her. The associate clinician made a colorful, laminated chart for the client where we can write down her scheduled activities for the day. These can be things such as work time, game, therapist’s choice, snack, pretend play, etc. Once we complete an activity, there is a space on the chart where the client can evaluate herself on how she did. The 2 questions she answers (by circling “yes J” or “no L ) are “Did I follow instructions?” and “Did I use my big girl voice?” This little girl has a tendency to mumble a lot, although she is capable of speaking clearly. Once she answers these questions, then I, the therapist, have to answer these questions about the client. If she puts down yeses and I agree and say yes too concerning these 2 questions, then she receives praise and an extra minute or two of play time or whatever we have agreed upon as a reward for that day. It worked very well today. My client completed 3 activities and had all yeses. However, I know it’s not always going to go this well. There are going to be days where she says yes to these questions, even though she knows she hasn’t followed instructions or has been mumbling, and I will have to be honest and say no and explain why I said no.
When I was driving home after my session, I started thinking about the importance of self-examination when it comes to our walk with God. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians:
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Cor. 13:5
We have to be willing to take inventory of our relationship with God and see how we are doing. However, the Bible also tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. We can lie to ourselves and say things are fine when they really aren’t. Perhaps that’s why David said in Psalms:
“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Psalm 26:2
If we ask the Lord to examine us and reveal what’s in our hearts, He will do it and be honest, for He cannot lie. (Titus 1:2) Primarily, He does this through the preaching of His Word. He will show us what areas of our lives we need to get right with Him, and do you know why He does it? It’s because He loves us, and He wants to be good to us. If we will follow His instruction when we need to be corrected and we repent, one day we will have the ultimate reinforcing reward of spending all eternity with Him!
Oh, monitor my heart, Lord Jesus.