Monday we fast and pray (again!) for God to give the gift of marriage, work redemption in men, and change us where we need to be changed. I’m going a little off the beaten path with my blogging today, but I know these truths are universal…
My 8-month-old daughter, Ellie, has two teeth, an infectious laugh, chubby baby cheeks, and an utter dislike for broccoli. Most often I am her teacher, but lately I’ve realized she has a host of lessons to teach me. Christ tells us to become like children if we want to enter heaven, so I’ve been studying her, trying to discover how I am called to imitate her.
Ellie lives and breathes dependency and trust. It’s effortless for her. She needs her parents constantly, 24/7. She knows this, and it doesn’t seem to bother her one bit. It’s just the way life is. She doesn’t worry (at least she shows no signs of it!) about her next meal. She doesn’t worry about what she will wear. She knows she’s loved and that we’ll take care of her, and she rests in that. Completely.
For me, dependency and trust in God is a fight. I know God loves me, I know he’ll take of me, but I struggle. I fret. Dependency and trust is a battleground.
Ellie is fully, 100% in the present moment. When she’s eating her beloved avocado, she’s all smiles and it’s everywhere — on her eyebrows, in her ear, up her nose. When she’s sad because she has to take a nap, she cries as if her life is over. When she’s rescued at the end of naptime, you’d think she’d won the lottery; she doesn’t remember that an hour earlier her world had come to an end. She holds no grudges from the past, nor does she obsess about the future. She is fully in the now.
I can work myself into a tizzy mulling over mistakes from the past. So easily I jump on the obsession treadmill, worrying about the future. I struggle to live in the present, embracing what God calls me to be doing now.
Ellie is not afraid to cry and receive comfort when she is sad. Sometimes the “fix” is almost immediate. She bumps her head, wails with that high “I’m in pain!!” cry, gets picked up and cuddled, and is suddenly all better. She has no pride, no shame, no fear of appearing too needy or broken. She’s hurting, so she asks for help. She embodies true humility.
Me, I am sometimes shy to go forward for prayer at church. Even when I’m feeling depressed, I can be quick to put on a smile and say “good!” when asked how I’m doing. I know at times I’ve cheated myself out on the blessing of comfort because I am too prideful to admit I’m hurting.
Ellie is fearless. She beams at strangers. She’s willing to be held by people she’s never met. She’s endured without a wince being licked in the face by dogs — in fact, it usually makes her giggle. She’s wiggled her legs in crashing ocean waves without hesitation. Maybe it’s partially how she’s wired, but I am that sure feeling secure in our love for her helps. She knows she’s loved, so she walks forward (so to speak) without fear, curiously exploring each new adventure. She has no fear about the present or the future.
Fear can paralyze me. When I think about moving into a new situation — even if it’s a Bible study at church where I know no one — I am stopped short. When I let my mind wander into future (bad) possible scenarios for myself or my family, I get a pit in my stomach. But if I truly believed I am loved completely, wouldn’t that help chase away my fear?
Ellie lives life with abandon. She throws herself into whatever it is she’s found to enjoy. Bath time means everyone gets wet from her giddy splashes. When it’s time to dance with daddy, she laughs deep belly laughs with the twists and turns. She has no hesitations, no fears, no worries of looking silly or appearing too enthusiastic. She jumps in with two feet.
I get insecure and wonder what people will think of me. I can paralyze myself trying to be “cool.” I dip my toe into situations, at times, when I should just jump in wholeheartedly — like Ellie.
May God make us all more like children as we fast and pray tomorrow. Blessings!