Wednesday, January 16, 2008
January is slug month.
We’ve played and partied our way through the month of Christmas, but now it’s simply winter around here. It’s cold and brown, mixed with a whitish pile of snow here and there.
And my daughters are turning into slugs. They sort of slip and slime their way out of bed in the morning, slowly flowing their way toward the kitchen where they sort of slurp down breakfast.
“Okay, girls! We leave for school in ten minutes.” I say. “Ughhhhhhhhhhhh, daddy. I don’t know if I can get to the bathroom to brush my teeth and comb my hair. . .ughhhhh.” And with a mighty, albeit slow, heave out of their chair, they each slime their way toward the bathroom, too tired to argue over who gets it first. At least they’re sharing.
And because their minds are working with all the precision and speed of a slug, I make sure they’ve got everything for the day ahead—like their school backpack and lunch. “Planning on opening a book at school today, my little slug? Think you’ll want something to slurp at lunch time, slime breath?”
“Ughhhhhhhhhhhh.” they say.
Before fumbling their way into the car, I held each one and prayed. And I’ve noticed lately that my prayers aren’t so much about what they should do toward Jesus, but about what Jesus might like to do toward them. With Ellen’s head on my chest, I said, “Jesus, I know where you are today—you’re in my daughter. And I know you’re delighted to be there with her. Would you surprise her today? Would you do something—whatever you like—to show yourself to her? Whatever would be fun and pleasing for you, Jesus, would you do that for Ellen? I know she’ll like whatever that is. Have fun with my girl, Lord. . .” I later prayed something along the same line with Emma.
Both girls looked, well, expectant after I prayed, looking up into my eyes as if to thank me. And I’m pretty sure I saw the confidence of hope in there, too.
Around my house we talk a lot about where God is (in us) and how to find Him there by sowing to the Spirit. But I know that God is at all times very active, even without our prayers or sowing or motivation. He doesn’t have slug days. So I want to point my little slime balls toward His efforts and doings in their day, perhaps lifting the pressure of performance from them. They’re already tired, and really haven’t the strength anyway. If I tell them too much about what to do for God, I’ve set them up for failure. I’ve done the setting up! When they fail to do what I’ve instructed, how will they feel? Even though they’re not actually guilty with God, false guilt may well plague them because they violated my instruction. What happens then? They get sluggish, and disappointment enters and draws up a chair somewhere between them and God.
I think that accounts for a lot of sluggishness, don’t you?
In the middle of the slug days of January, you might ask God to surprise you. To sort of sneak up on you and do something fun, point out something funny, or to speak of something endearing. He will do it, you know. Perhaps His favorite thing to do is something to excite you or please you or fascinate you with Himself. It stirs and builds your faith, helping you to live by faith in Him. And that’s the game.
And it takes the slug out of January.