Keep Chasing that Beach Ball

Sep
2014
07

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I know the rest of the nation is all “Yay! Fall! Pumpkins! Leaves!” But we down here in Florida are sitting in our heavily air conditioned houses praying that this is the day that the high goes below 90. While it’s a little depressing that fall is still a ways away, it’s comforting that we live less than 2 hours from a good beach and can still go there for the time being. And, to be perfectly honest, I think snow is horrid so I’ll take it. Here’s to you, Florida! I might never see a leaf change color but at least I’ll never have to shovel a driveway.

This weekend we decided to embrace the heat and went to the beach with our new, dear friends. The weather was perfect, the water was warm, the kids actually had fun for the most part. And we adults actually found time to talk off and on! So even though I’m pretty sure I’ll never get all of the sand out of our van, I’ll call it a success.

Near the end of our afternoon the wind started to pick up and our blue beach ball couldn’t stand up against it and started rolling up the beach. Titus saw this and immediately went after the ball. What followed was a hilarious, Sisyphus-like endeavor to retrieve the ball and return it to our spot. He’d just run and run after that thing, get a hold of it, come back, lose it again, rinse and repeat. We kept saying, “where’s Titus?” And then we’d spot a little dot, way down the beach, patiently running after that ball.

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The thing that really struck me about this endeavor was Titus’ attitude about it all. That he simply found pleasure in chasing after this ball. He never grew frustrated when it slipped out of his hands again, working it’s way just out of reach. He just turned around and went after the thing again.

I cannot imagine a better metaphor for motherhood. You guys, I’m so tired right now. I do the SAME THING EVERY DAY. And it so often feels pointless. Why strive to clean a house that will be completely dismantled in 15 minutes after the kids get home? Why do another load of laundry when I know there will be a new load to do again tomorrow?

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(And this, remarkably, is only about half of it)

The dishwasher always need to be emptied. The schoolwork must always be checked. Dinner demands to be made. Snacks bagged, lunches made, coffee pot set, clothes laid out. Constantly fighting the same battles, teaching the same lessons, disciplining for the same offenses. It is incredibly redundant, is it not? Just when I think I’ve pinned even one of these things down, the wind of life picks it up and blows it out of my grasp and I’m scrambling to get it back.

So I’m watching Titus yesterday and all I can think is, “God, I just want to have that joy again. Can I just do the task and be pleased? Why must I always be weary? Did you not intend for me to find joy in doing my job?” Too often when I feel this way I try to change my approach. Do I need a new system? Do I need to change our routine? Do we need to try a new method? There’s a place for making those sorts of changes, of course. But in the end my job is still my job. When I focus on the approach I miss the real crux of the matter. It is not the jobs that are making me weary. It’s the orientation of my heart. If the source that fuels all of these activities is wrong, the joy is gone.

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

Full joy. That’s what He wants for His followers! But of course that verse alone makes no sense. You’ve got to know what He spoke to them, to us. Look at these preceding verses.

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

These are hard words to understand, harder to follow. And yet this is where full joy is found. We obey. Of course we obey. We do our jobs. We fulfill our calling as followers of Christ, working hard to raise our kids to love Him, creating a home that is a haven and a place for ministry to happen, meeting the needs of husbands and children and friends and neighbors. But we don’t just obey. We abide. When you obey without abiding, the joy disappears.

Friends, are you abiding? A good way to find the answer to that question is to ask yourself if you have joy when you obey. When I feel frustrated because it seems that all I do is chase that stupid beach ball to no avail, it is because I am forgetting to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” I’m forgetting to sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, thinking only of serving like Martha. He wants the sitting and the serving. He wants the abiding and obeying.

So now I’m sitting here looking at all that needs to be done this week. The calendar and the emails are all pulled up on my screen and the laundry is piled up on the couch and I forgot to take dinner out of the freezer and Titus is running around in his undies and Reagan has been playing video games for way too long. This is the moment when all the obeying in the world will do me no good. I’ve got to abide, too. Maybe before I address all that I’ll just soak up the grace of His wonderful Word before diving back in.

1 comment

  1. Jenny

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