An invitation to be ready (to be needy)
I chase my almost-three-year-old around the bedroom with the batman t-shirt. He busts out of the doorway and sprints for the living room, squealing.
“I’m not going to chase you around,” I say, even though–let’s tell the truth–I’m pretty desperate here. We’ve got to get in the car to make it to school on time and this is the daily trek around the metaphoric Mulberry Bush. Oh, the amount of energy I spend trying to make these children of mine not naked.
But I stick to my guns and refuse to chase him once he leaves the bedroom. I take my language cues from the intersections of ideas in my life right now: teaching Godly Play curriculum in Sunday School, the counseling course I’m taking, Parenting with Love and Logic: “It seems like you’re not ready to get dressed,” I try to speak this calmly, even though my other son is also refusing to find his jacket and I haven’t brushed my teeth or taken five freaking minutes to comb the bang explosion on my head.
“It seems like you’re not ready to get dressed,” I repeat. “You can either come back to your room and get dressed or you can sit in time-out till you’re ready.”
Forget that we have only ten minutes to accomplish way too many early mornings tasks. Forget that I know I need to sign some sort of permission form that I can’t find and I feel super guilty about how we didn’t do anything to help the Kindergarten class raise money for the “Jump rope for heart” fundraiser and the money we didn’t raise is due today. I take a deep breath and help Brooksie’s little frustrated body situate in the time-out chair.
“You let me know when you’re ready to get dressed. Until then, stay here.”
He stays and sings a song to himself while I search for the permission form and throw our lunches into our three separate bags.
“Okay, Mommy. Okay. I weddy. I weddy to get dwessed.”
He climbs down and runs his bare-skinned upper-half straight into the t-shirt I hold in my hands. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to wait until you’re ready.
On Sunday, my pastor preached from John 7, a story of Jesus crying out to the people surrounding him at the Festival of Booths, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.”
“Jesus says being thirsty is sign of readiness to receive him,” Pastor Fred said. In order to receive from Christ, we need the simplest thing: We need to be thirsty.
I’ve spent much of my life hearing church culture define “thirst” in the holiest of ways. Do we long for Jesus enough? Are we starving and dying for the glory of God? Years of hearing that sort of description of the Christian life has turned me off to Evangelical Speak almost completely. I don’t know what it means to long for God’s glory. It is so abstract that it’s become a ringing gong in my ears, a reminder of a kind of faith I can’t live up to.
You know what I do know? I do know what it means to need God’s Spirit to make me whole. I do know what it means to long for God to renew a humanity so bent in on itself that the sort of thing we’re seeing in the Ukraine right now is commonplace. Another story of God’s beloved people savaging each other.
Don’t tell me to hold a deep thirst for something I don’t understand, like God’s glory. Instead tell me that what I hold in me already–that longing to know my Creator–that longing to see Creation know its Creator, tell me that that is what it means to thirst.
“All we need is thirst,” Pastor Fred said. “All we need is nothing.”
Thirst is the readiness, I think to myself, cheering my children from their shoes to the car. Waiting the long minutes while they work to buckle themselves into seatbelts.
When you’re ready, then we can go to school, I say.
When you’re ready, Micha. When you’re ready, you’ll recognize that all you ever needed was your own need. I’m already here: Come to me, all who are thirsty. Believe and drink.
Photo Credit: The Wandering Angel on Flickr