When I was little, I’d often pretend to be asleep as our car pulled into the driveway late in the evening. Maybe we had been to church or at a family dinner; maybe we were returning from the grocery store or a school event. Wherever it was, it was late and I was tired, so I’d pretend to be asleep so that my dad would have to carry me inside the house. This routine lasted way past the age it should have. I’ve always been tall and I’m sure there were times when my dad struggled to get me out of the backseat of the car and wondered when I would finally give up the gig.
I’m not a quitter, so it was not any time soon.
Besides just being really lazy, being carried into the house just felt good too. Knowing that someone else was in charge of getting me inside the house was comforting. Knowing I could relax fully and be supported by my dad as he lugged me down the hallway to my bedroom was soothing for my kid soul.
Those forgotten memories came flooding back recently as I sat holding my four year old. It was early one Saturday morning, way before 7:00 and I was up thanks to an internal clock that doesn’t get the it’s-the-weekend-let’s-sleep-in memo very often. Harper had coughed herself away and then stumbled into my office as I sat at my desk spending some time with Jesus. It was too early for talking, so she wordlessly climbed up on my lap and I covered her in the blanket I had wrapped myself in. She’s stubborn enough that I knew she wasn’t going back to sleep, but she wasn’t all the way awake yet either. It was nice having her little warm body recline into me.
As she relaxed into my lap, I glanced over at the passage I had been reading before she arrived:
What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. -Jesus talking in Luke 12:29, The Message (emphasis added by me)
It’s funny how when I’m not paying attention, God sends a little messenger in the form of a child to show me what he means. (And I’m not talking about Jesus right now, but that would be a pretty sweet segue if I wanted to use that, huh?)
Here I was holding my daughter–all forty-two pounds of her–completely supporting her as she slowly woke up. She was dead weight in my arms, trusting that I would keep her safe and secure as she sat with me. She wasn’t worried about what she would have for breakfast, if her toys were safe, or what she was going to wear to her friend’s birthday party later. She knew without a doubt that her mommy and daddy would take care of all of that and she would just have to show up. The rest would be done for her.
And I’m reading, literally as she walks in the room, about how Jesus wants me to stop worrying about everything. He says I should be living in a God-reality, not the Mary-reality I’m trying so hard to focus on.
What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very best kingdom itself. -Jesus speaking in Luke 12:29-32, The Message
Here’s what I think about when I try to imagine what my life would look like if I could truly live one hundred percent of the time in God-reality: me, completely dead weight and relaxed, at the foot of the cross. No tense shoulders or shaking leg, no eye twitches from stress, no freaky eczema breakout on my eyelids from lack of sleep and too much to do.
I would be calm. I would be joyful. I would smile more.
I love that vision of me, completely peaceful and tranquil at the feet of Jesus. I wish that girl was around more often.
Every once in a while, my crazy husband tries to pick me up. Literally, he tries to lift me up while we’re standing next to each other. It completely stressed me out and I fight it, but he manages to get me up anyway before I squirm my way out of his grasp. When I’m up there, for those brief moments before I escape, I suck in. I don’t know why I suck in, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with thinking that I can make myself lighter if I just suck my stomach in.
I know it doesn’t really work like that but I DO IT ANYWAY BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN MAGIC.
I don’t want my husband to know and feel my true weight. I don’t want him to know what my body–all of it–feels like with his straining muscles. The idea of it just freaks me out.
So I suck in.
It doesn’t actually change my weight, but it makes me feel better. It’s kind of like worrying: I like to worry about things because it makes me feel better. It doesn’t actually do anything, but I get the illusion I’m doing something so I worry. It makes me feel productive. I don’t want Jesus to feel the full weight of my personality, my shortcomings, my nasty heart, my junk, and be freaked out by what he sees. So I worry about things to make sure I’m keeping up with the junk myself.
Jesus wants me to stop that game.
He wants me to stop sucking in. He wants me to stop worrying. He wants me to trust with every ounce of my being that He’s got this no matter what or who I am. And if I want to pretend to be asleep in the back of a 1981 sky blue Monte Carlo, He’ll pick me up and carry me the rest of the way even if I’m a total faker. He wants me, all of me, dead weight and everything, so that I can live the life He’s promised me.
But I have to stop fussing and fidgeting. I have to stop trying so hard to keep everything together. I have to stop holding all that tension in my shoulders and steep myself in God-reality because Mary-reality is exhausting. Also, messy.
I have to become dead weight at the foot of the cross and know that He’s got this. No matter how silly I might look, collapsing at the feet of Jesus sounds pretty good right about now.
(Also, someone come carry me to bed. I’M TIRED.)
I constantly struggle with being in a Brooke-reality, even though I want to be in a God-reality. I’m not sure how to do that…
It’s weird, the more time I spend in the Word, the more easily I get out of the Mary-reality mindset. It’s not even something I think of, it just happens.
Mandy Ford says
I need this today friend…thank you. 🙂
Thank you, Mandy!
Great read. Thanks!
This is exactly what I needed today. Thank you!
Thanks, Andrea. I hope you found encouragement.
Traci Barton says
Thank you for this. I so relate to the spiritual “sucking in” analogy. Perfectly put!
Thanks, Traci. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.
How beautifully you have painted this picture, Mary! To totally relax in His arms is not easy as an adult for so many reasons it seems, but He wants us to be able to do just as you describe so much more often than we do. That provides real rest!
Blessings to you today,
So true, thanks Pam!
This is so awesome. Would you care if I’d read it to my church group sometime? And would it be ok if I said ” a friend of mine wrote this…” ? I know we don’t actually hang out but you’re kinda in my head alot so does that count as “friend” ?
Ha, sure! And we’re totally friends!