The riding lawn mower quit working recently. Apparently, grounded tree limbs and freeway driving speeds over top of said tree limbs don’t make for a good mix. I’m not surprised by the breakdown. I’m only surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
After a few days at the shop and a costly repair, I informed the “lawn mowers” in my household that mowers and sticks don’t mix; they nodded their understanding. It didn’t sink in; not fully. For just the other day, the “lawn mower” man was at it again, driving like Mario Andretti, all the while crunching and munching the remnants from a recent storm beneath the blades of the newly renovated mower. When I confronted him about the issue, he looked at me with all sincerity and ease and simply replied…
“Mom, I don’t do sticks.”
My immediate response to him?
“Son, that is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t do sticks? Are you kidding me? How old are you?
I’ll spare you the rest of the details. Your imagination is ample enough to create a fairly clear picture of just how it all went down.
I’ve raised two impatient sons as it pertains to the “doing” of the rudimentary tasks of daily living, which includes anything that doesn’t make their list of “how a young man should be spending his time.” And while they’ve always been willing to comply with these daily chores (and to their credit, with little grumbling alongside), the rules of engagement for accomplishing the tasks share one common denominator.
The faster the better. The sooner it’s done, the sooner the fun. Sometimes it works out that way; sometimes it doesn’t. They are both finding out via personal experience that faster isn’t always the best route for progress. That speeding through life sometimes presents them with a yield—a pause that forces them to grapple with their impatience and their choice to either “grow up” in this area or to keep returning to the bottle of their infancy.
As it goes with them, so it goes with me. There are seasons in my life when the pressure to mature burdens me with the responsibility of having to make a choice along those lines. In the days of my youth, I couldn’t wait to be older; at least then I would be in control of my decisions.
I was right; I’m now in control of my decisions, but there are times when the comfort of a little milk and a warm blanket are tempting. Times when I wish I could revert to the cradle and leave all the decisions up to someone else. Times when I, like my sons, say dumb things to others and to God, in hopes that my words make sense, but all the while knowing that they don’t. That they are offensive to the ears of those on the receiving end.
Unreasonable words. Thoughts based on emotion rather than truth. Casual statements issuing forth from a place of unbelief, fear, and selfishness. Justifications that aren’t thought out but, rather, are based on inconsistent sentiment that shrouds my flesh in self-interest.
I spoke as much to God this morning.
“Where are you God?”
“I think you’ve forgotten about me.”
“Could you just hurry up with the answer?”
“Is there really any point to this day?”
“I imagine that this is about as good as it’s going to get, so I’d better get up and get it over with.”
Yammering unbelief like that, on and on for a few moments, only to be quickly followed up by my confession.
“I’m sorry God. That was really a dumb thing to say.”
And then I laughed; and then he did. And thus, the conversation was opened up for a better word; a truer truth; a love and a grace that exceeds my stupidity to say,
“Now that we’ve cleared that up, elaine, let’s move on to some solid food.”
It’s time to move on with some solid food, my friends. Our maturing doesn’t happen overnight or with a quick ride around the lawn. Our “growing up” in the faith takes time … takes a willingness on our parts to bend to the menial tasks of picking up sticks and slowing our pace. Of entreating the pauses that find us, whether forced upon us by others or freely chosen by us because we’ve come to the conclusion that faster doesn’t always yield better. That solid food requires a longer chew.
And that chewing can, in fact, bring pleasure to the process of our becoming.
How about you? What excuses are you bringing to the table of grace today? What could you possibly offer up to our God as a justification for your staying as you are? What bottle of milk tastes better than a steak? What questions could you ask him that remain without answers? What elementary understanding stifles your “gettin’ on with the gettin’ on” as it pertains to your faith journey?
Can this mother’s heart be honest?
It’s time to grow up. Time to slow down and sit with Father God and listen to what he has to say. Why? Because if we don’t, we risk a lifetime of infancy, never tasting the freedom and joy that comes with moving onto our maturity in Christ. Jesus didn’t go all the way to the cross and back so that we could stay as we are; he made that journey so that we could become a living conduit of his kingdom and his grace.
And that kind of sacred consecration and calling, my friends, deserves more than our menial attempts at maturity. Kingdom bestowment deserves our unparalleled obedience and humble willingness to grow into our crowns and to be thankful for the grace it has taken to make them a worthy fit.
Leave the bottles for the infants and keep to the table of rich meats this week. I’ll meet you at the table of grace where the food is solid and the communion is ever sweet. As always,