I’ve noticed a dynamic in my house that makes me wonder if it exists in other homes as well. If my husband needs to run an errand, or wants to go for a run or leave the house in general, he just goes. He gets dressed, picks up his keys and walks out the door. If I need to leave the house, I feel the need to make sure everyone is taken care of first. Snacks, diapers, naps – whatever is needed. Then mommy can leave the house. Please don’t misunderstand. No one requires this of me except me. The idea of moving forward without all my ducklings in a row is hard for me. There are times Bryan will even ask “Aren’t you supposed to be going somewhere?” as I hustle around the house finishing one task or another.
Usually, it’s one task that has magically morphed into 20. I set out to change the baby’s diaper, but then see the trash can is full. So I take the trash out and notice some boxes stacked up in the garage. I then proceed to move the boxes to recycling, at which point I notice the flowers need to be watered. I have a black thumb and routinely murder any plant that sets stem into our yard. Well at this point I’m wet because our hose leaks, so now I have to change clothes. My closet is a mess and needs a good clean out. Which of these clothes don’t fit anymore?….Do you see where I’m going with this?
It’s easy for me to get caught up in distraction. Over the years I’ve determined it’s equal parts mild ADD, too much caffeine and just my personality for wanting to get things done as soon as possible. When a thought or idea pops into my head, I have a hard time filing it away to revisit later. My brain wants to do or think about it now, so we (me and my brain) have come up with a compromise. I’ll put it on my to-do list right away if my brain will let it go until I have time to revisit the thought. Without our little compromise, my life is simply a bunch of scattered, half-completed tasks. There are days my brain gets sneaky and I find myself back in old habits. When I realize what’s happening, I typically let out a little “arggh!” in frustration, I stop what I’m doing and take an inventory of all the things I’m trying to do at one time. They all get a spot on my list and sanity resumes (sort of).
From time to time there are things that make it on the list that never quite seem to get checked off. These are the big ideas that scare the pants off of me. The ones that I look at every day and think, “I’ll work on that tomorrow.” Things like turning in my resignation at work or sending my book to the editor. The first one took over a year to check off and the latter is still pending. When I take steps that big, life is about to change drastically. Even when I know the change is something I’ve been called by God to do, I don’t always jump up and say “Yes!” More often than not, I look more like my 3-year-old when I’ve asked him to do something while he’s watching tv. First, he’s going to flat out say no without even blinking an eye. Then he’ll catch a glimpse of mommy’s frown and he’ll slowly start to stand up, eyes still firmly fixed on the tv. At this point, I’ve repeated myself at least three times. He’s moving towards compliance, but at sloth speed.
Lucky for me, God has infinitely more patience with His children. He knows we’re all 3-year-olds when it comes to listening to our heavenly father. We know best, we want to do things ourselves and no one will convince us otherwise. We may have to fall down a few times or get frustrated before we ask for help, but like a loving parent, He often waits for us to come to the realization on our own. He wants what’s best for us, the same way we want what’s best for our children. As they grow and begin to have more independence, we want them to be both safe and bold at the same time. Unafraid to try new things because they trust their parents are looking out for them.
This summer I enrolled 3-year-old Daniel in swim lessons at our local rec center. He loves to swim with his floaties at his grandparent’s house and is pretty fearless when it comes to jumping off the side or even the diving board. “This will be his year!”, I thought. The first day of swim lessons, I talked it up BIG. What a big boy he’ll be. He’s going to learn how to swim without his floaties. He seemed genuinely excited until he realized I would not be going in the pool with him. Try as I might, there was no way he was going to participate without mommy. In his mind, he wouldn’t be safe without me. Even if he could touch the bottom of the pool with his feet and see me watching from the side.
I realize this is the same reason I have such a difficult time checking those scary tasks off my list. I want tangible proof that things are going to be ok. God’s voice is telling me it will be. I can feel the Holy Spirit’s peace, but I want to see. Unfortunately, the seeing comes after the trusting and not the other way around. Rest assured, when it’s within the will of God, we can be confident in our safety. So, if you find yourself standing at the edge of the pool and you’re not sure if you should jump in, remember…your parents paid a lot of money for those swim lessons! 🙂
“For we live by faith and not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7