A Lesson in Paisley

“You hold me?”

Words from a little three year old I had just met were quite precious. The first words she’d said to me were, “What’s your name?” followed shortly thereafter by those requesting to be held. They came more as a question than a demand.

I had just met the little girl after meeting her mom and siblings the week prior. Her mom was standing next to me, and said “Oh goodness, she’s way too heavy to be held!”

I scoffed, put down my bag, and said to her, “You want me to hold you?” She shook her head yes so assuredly, with confidence as she wiped her hair out of her face. So up she came, and I exclaimed, “You’re not heavy! I got you.”

It was about two minutes later that she exclaimed, “You let me down now!” And off she went to play once more. Her mom apologizing for her daughter’s tenacity and intrusion into the conversation several of us were having.

I couldn’t help but think about those brief few minutes and reflect on how we often do the same with God. We ask Him Who He is to us, what Name He is. Then we question tentatively whether He will hold us, unsure of approaching Him or with doubt that He can handle the task of our stuff along with us.

He tells us He is I AM. He then in turn calls us by name, not the name we are used to hearing but chosen, beloved, daughter, son, loved. He swoops down and picks us up, longing to hold us but waiting for the invitation. He grips us tight, even when we feel what we bring with us is too heavy, or like a 3 year old mini-protester, we fight and struggle against being carried, being held close.

But after a time we ask to be let go. We desire to seek our own way, our own path. We may not verbally tell Him to let us down, to release His hold, but we do everything we can to get out of it. We make decisions that take us outside of His will, or we pursue after what we believe is something good only to find it was deceptive in it’s pursuits.

We run off to bounce houses of distraction and folly, only to return exhausted and thirsting for more of the Living Water we left.

We look and see friends doing other things, playing and enjoying life and we believe that to be what we need as well. It comes out as coveting or gossiping because we believe being held by Him is holding us back from those things they have or do.

So off we go…

Paisley taught me that far too often I seek His embrace, but not Him and Who He is. I seek after what He can give me for a moment rather than a lifetime. So today I choose the embrace of the God Who stooped down to bridge the gap of love thousands of years ago, I reach up with arms of surrender and allow Him to carry all of me, the baggage I still carry, the heaviness of brokenness, and know that I will cling to Him even when I am tempted to fight against the embrace of the God Who calls me by name.

We’re Always Better When We’re Together.

Growing up, I was surrounded by kids in my neighborhood. For the most part, it was males, but I still had others to be around who were similar in age and interest. We would play basketball, wiffleball, and kickball. We would pretend to be the greatest, and for a while, feel like we were. In that community, we were unstoppable forces.

As we grow up though something tells us to seclude ourselves. Something tells us not to trust those around us with those same joys and hopes. We begin the slow slide into seclusion and isolation. For years I have kept a dream of mine strictly to myself, out of fear.

Photo courtesy of www.dancingwithhappiness.com
Photo courtesy of http://www.dancingwithhappiness.com

I think that’s what gets us. FEAR. We are afraid of what will be said, of the judgement, of the questions, of tarnishing that dream we cling to inwardly. We believe people will think of us less, expect more, question and encourage. It’s both sides of the coin because that’s how fear plays us. I have sat in a room with other dreamers yelling out their fears, and often shook my head in agreement or wondered why I hadn’t thought of that one.

When you voice your fear though, it takes away its power. As Jon Acuff states, “Fear fears community.” It hates to be shared. Fear wants to keep you quiet and shut off. The moment you share your fears with others is the moment truth comes pouring in. The blinders that had you focused on the fear are removed for you to see the vast world of truth around it.

Maybe we should take a few notes from our younger, more childish selves. Turn off the television, enjoy one another, share our hopes and dreams, and then cheer on one another when you go after them.

I know I am currently doing that as a part of the Start Experiment along with 23 other writers in Group 8, and alongside a couple of thousand other Starters. We got the start line, and we took off together for the next 24 days. We’re acting like kids, challenging and cheering one another on, and sharing our fears. Because when you tell someone of the monster under your bed or in your closet, you are no longer alone. Truth flips on the light.