September 12: Joy is Found in the Present

I was tired this afternoon, and when I laid down on the couch for a bit, the kids proceeded to put stickers on my "booty." Their idea, of course. Toby said, "Eva, Momma's booty looks so beautiful, doesn't it?" She said "ya."

Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work. 
~C. S. Lewis

Today, I played with my children.

Now, you might look at my days in photos or my life as a whole and think, well, duh. You're a stay-at-home mom. Like, everyday. Of course you play with your kids.

But the truth is, I usually don't. What's more is I don't really like to. Really at all.

A lot of the time I let them play with toys on the floor while I fold the laundry or let them create with the Play-doh at the kitchen table while I do the dishes or let them run around outside while I am busy with something else. I don't really play with them, rather I'm productive alongside them. Or I'm unproductive, checking Facebook or Instagram or the like.

Usually I'm distracted, thinking about all the things I need to do around the house, or I'm plugged into my phone. Usually I'm self-absorbed, thinking about what I want to do or read or work on. But today was different.

Today I watched two episodes of Sesame Street without checking Facebook. Without picking up my phone at all, really. I actually watched it. I learned about words like "prickly" and "soggy." I feel educated.

Then Toby and I played catch with a football. In the house. And he loved it. He went down for his nap asking if we could please please do that again later. And we laughed and ate lunch together and did piggy-back rides and played Play-doh, and not once did I think about all the things I should be doing {although there were many} or what I would rather be doing instead.

And what I found today was that all the distractions and the should do's and the ought to's and the selfish groans {even the silent ones} that emerge from the "broken wanter" that lies deep inside only serve to steal our joy. Joy that is found by being present. In the present. Right were we are at this moment in time.

It's easy to be thankful for where you are if you're not wishing you were somewhere else.

It's easy to be grateful for who you're with if you're not thinking about being with someone else.

It's easy to live in the present if you really take the time to look at it, experience it, and breathe it all in, rather then allowing distraction to steal the very life out from under you.

When I slowed down and actually allowed myself to be there, all there, in that moment with who I was with, doing what I was doing, I found that I actually do enjoy playing with my kids. I enjoy helping them learn, making them laugh. And perhaps, all this time, I've been too preoccupied to notice that.

Maybe surrendering to the Lord is as much about surrendering who you are as it is about surrendering where you are at this very moment it time. You have to lay them both down, simultaneously. And therein lies joy. And peace. And life.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

Romans 12:1 (MSG)