As Christian parents, we know our children ultimately belong to the Lord and we are only given them for a little while. Easy to say, right? But doesn’t it create the most important balancing act of our lives? That tension between doing too little and holding on too tightly? When my three kiddos were young, they knew Mom and Dad would consider each situation regardless of what “all the other kids” were doing. They thought I worried too much. And maybe I did.
How often are we so distracted by the “extras” on the sandwich of our life that we forget the main thing? I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a neighbor, an office manager, a stranger to passers-by, and the list goes on. Each of these roles brings its own set of responsibilities and expectations.
Isn’t it nice when someone is happy to see you? Every time I turn my key in the lock I know as soon as I open my front door, I will be greeted with tail-wagging excitement by our family dog, Tucker.
Many in the world today understand the importance of looking around to be aware of others in need, so we can help. As a Christian I know that the Bible both encourages and commands us to care for others. But the Lord tells us that even before we look out to others, we should first look up to Him. The first 15 verses of Psalm 105 are also recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22. There is a lot of meaningful stuff in these passages and Psalm 105:4 is no exception: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (NIV). The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “Seek and deeply long for the Lord and His strength [His power, His might]; Seek and deeply long for His face and His presence continually.” I can’t continually seek God’s face if I am only paying attention to my own agenda—even when my agenda is filled with things that are good or even necessary.
Could He really be thinking “You’re all my favorites?” What about when I am not my best self? When I am cranky, selfish, too worn out to care? I’m not even sure I deserve to be a wife or mother some days. I don’t deserve to be anyone’s favorite. Certainly not the God of the universe! That’s when I need to be reminded that God doesn’t love me because of who I am; he loves me because of who he is.
It was amazing how the faux brick surrounding the colorful mural blended in with the surroundings, making the mural itself stand out even more. So, I’m thinking, as human beings, should we be blending in like the “brick” or working to stand out like the mural? It’s so much easier to blend in even when we are forty-something years old and middle school is far behind us. We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves; we don’t want to upset people; we are too busy with our own day to respond to, or even notice, the needs of others. Standing out is difficult. It takes energy. It’s uncomfortable. Yet, that’s exactly what Jesus asks us to do.