Stop, it’s not safe.
I have three young boys, ages 4 and a half, 2 almost 3 (in 6 weeks) and 13 months. Every day, I have to coax them off boxes they’re standing on, convince them that flipping off couches isn’t a great idea, and that run/jumping toward me and each other isn’t as fun as they think it is. Most days, I feel like a ring master of a circus that is one stunt gone bad away from an emergency room visit.
Tonight, my eldest was performing such a stunt, standing on his little push car, arms out proudly proclaiming, “Look Mama, I’m balancing!” “Buddy, get down. It’s not safe,” I replied, and no sooner did I get the words out did my middle son push the car to give his brother a ride. My 4 year old’s arms flailed, knees locked, and he lost his balance, flipping over backwards, and hit his chest against the car before falling to the floor.
I scooped him up, looking him all over, asking him to take a deep breath just in case he’d injured his diaphragm. Clearly shocked, he met my eyes and I reiterated that balancing on his toys is not safe. “Ok Mama,” he acknowledged, but I know tonight, we’ll be having the same conversation.
Sometimes, I see so much of myself in him, it scares me. I often try to force my will over my environment, standing places I know are stretching me thin, with my arms out showing God I’ve got it all figured out and am in balance.
And then I hear him, with the same warning I give my son, “Stop, that’s not safe.”
I almost guffaw, “I’m not gonna fall!” Up on my tightrope, I start spinning plates. “See God? I’ve got my job working, my family’s good, I’m doing Your work…” all ignoring the fact I’m maintaining my act from a rigid, margin-less platform that even a mild wind will send me plummeting.
And that’s what’s happened. The last 8 months, I’ve been working a full time job, giving every shred of valuable time to my children and husband while slogging through mom guilt in order to stay active as a ministry leader and occasionally meet with friends. I’ve tried to convince myself I’m in balance, but my heart has started to jostle, and the calling within it cannot be ignored any longer.
I’ve asked God plenty how do I fit writing and sharing his heart with all of you while also doing everything else? I’m already burnt out!! His response came from Psalm 37:
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4 NIV
When I picture a pasture, it’s a wide expanse full of sustenance and beauty, so different than the tightrope that’s become my life. Trusting him is moving to where I know he wants me to be, instead of trying to control everything I don’t think he’ll come through on. It’s doing the good in all the places he’s called me, work, home church while not relying on them to fulfill the desires of my heart. It’s delighting in Him, instead of trying to impress Him and everyone else.
And so, here I am: fallen, injured and yet so relieved to be living in the wide expanse my Abba calls me to, where all He sets my hands to will prosper, because I first have trusted in Him.