Friday, February 18, 2011
In the last couple months, we've had a lot of sickness over here. Somehow we managed to escape it all fall, and then post-Christmas, the germs just decided to take up residence in our house. My daughter had three different fever spells in a two-week time frame. She's missed a lot of school. Once it was an entire week straight.
And a strange thing happened during those days. Even though she is a very well-spoken and capable third grader, she started using a lot of baby-talk. After about the third day, I was getting sick of it. I started lecturing her about using a "big girl voice," acting so bothered about her new habit. It was grating on me, for whatever reason (well, maybe part of the reason was that both kids and my husband were all sick and I was the last man standing), until I kept hearing myself say in a quite unpleasant tone, "Pleeease, STOP talking like a baby!" I realized at that point that my own voice had become more annoying than hers.
So I backed off. I started observing, instead of complaining. She wanted to watch our old Winnie the Pooh movies. She wanted to snuggle and read Peter Rabbit together, instead of pour through a chapter book alone in her room. I saw that in many ways she was reverting to babyish preferences. I was suddenly intrigued instead of annoyed. I kept watching and trying to understand the reason for her sudden adoption of smallish ways.
And then I was touched. A little guilty, but also touched, because it clicked. I finally put myself in her shoes, imagined myself as the child - the sick and weak child - with a loving parent around. I have the same need as my daughter, even as a woman; I do the same when I'm sick or weak. I want to be smallish, and I allow myself to be smallish, when I realize I'm in good hands.
You know whose hands I'm talking about. When I'm sick or broken down or overwhelmed, inside, way inside my heart, the thing I want most is to curl up and close my eyes next to the One who has me. The One who can take over. You know you are loved when you can let go of performing for a bit. All my spinning plates can be stilled and gently stacked up by the Lord's hands when I'm not up to par. Even if only for a day or two, He carries me, and I am so thankful. I don't act smallish in the exact same ways as my daughter. For me, it's more that I become emotionally smallish, or humbled. I allow myself to stop keeping it all together like the professional parent and grown-up that I am most days.
Do you know this feeling? Sometimes I have to let myself be smallish to remember that I'm not more than a child who needs a loving Father. And if I go too long without remembering that fact, if I am striving to perform the heck out of my life, and acting as if I am totally self-sufficient, you better believe that same loving Father will bring circumstances to remind me how smallish I really am. Humbling circumstances. I'm thankful for those too (though not always at first). I say I'm thankful for the Lord sending humbling circumstances my way in those instances because my striving without His input always ends up badly. Like crash-and-burn badly.
We all long to be smallish some days. My daughter grabs her Pooh Bear, I let go of my striving. I'm safe to do so because no one is going to tell me to just "act like a big girl!" No way. Jesus would never say that to me in my weakness. He scoops me up, like a gentle parent. He lets me curl up like a small child and stays close until I'm stronger.
This Psalm has always resonated with me. Even a man, a king no less, David, rich in power and prestige, longed to be smallish. He wrote these beautiful words:
My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
On your weak days, feel free to come as a child, just as you are, to God. No amount of performing means anything to Love. Would you expect any from your own child? Or would you just wrap them tightly in your arms for as long as they'd stay there?
Yeah, me too.