Nothing quite says “laptop” like the local coffeehouse. It’s one of my favorite places to flip that puppy open and work on social media marketing, read articles about the publishing industry, check out a new profile on LinkedIn, or pin that recipe. I’ll admit, when I’m “taxi parent,” I flip it open more frequently at the karate dojo, in the car outside the dance studio, or at the occupational therapist’s office waiting on my son.
But I was at home one day when I started settling into a good writing groove in my favorite-and-very-old IKEA chair, feet propped up on the ottoman. Suddenly, I heard some slurpy noises. As I peered around the screen of my laptop, it turns out that the Almighty Glowing Apple was getting a good lick on the other side of my creative mind flow.
I hadn’t even noticed my Shih Tzu Delilah by my feet showing her puppy affection for my MacBook Pro. She has a way of claiming space on the ottoman like a stealth fighter pilot. (Meanwhile, her brother Samson was on his bed, as usual, sending peaceful snores into the air to a rhythm that sounds so much like “Billy Jean” that I keep looking for the trademark white glove. Pretty sure I saw him slide backward with each snuffle, though.)
My dogs would lick every inch of our arms, faces, feet, etc., if we let them. There are several different reasons why dogs lick. I think my dogs primarily show affection that way.
But, why, oh why, did my 12-pound Shih Tzu lick my laptop?
Because she was trying to get to me.
Without expending just a little more effort/energy,
she settled for second best.
Um…wow. Not only did this say a lot to me about my personal affection for my laptop, evidenced by how often I am staring into its wide-open mouth letting it all but swallow me whole, but it stopped me in my tracks about my walk with God.
How many times do we do this? Go after a substitute and settle for something, stopping just short of the Real Deal?
- That entertainment I want to fill my life with? Yeah, fun for a while, and nothing inherently wrong with wanting to be amused, but at the end of the day, it leaves me coming up pretty empty.
- That vice that seems so innocent and, after all, “in moderation”? Doesn’t fill that space.
- That career from which we strive to get our self-worth? Not a bad thing by itself, but it doesn’t fully deliver.
- That relationship that seems so fulfilling, so perfect, but after the honeymoon phase, we discover we are imperfect people? Yeah, not going to complete us.
- That obsession we have about exercising/running/hitting the gym (that does not in any way describe me)? Great for health and fitness but not the solution to our soul hunger.
- That preoccupation we have with our expectations of ourselves, others, etc.? Oh, expectations—hear that pedestal come crashing down!
Now please hear me: Some of these things are very worthy pursuits. It’s good to have fun, interact with others, and choose healthy pastimes.
But do they preoccupy us to the extent that we keep chasing the fix they falsely promise? Do we try to fill our spiritual hunger—our built-in God need—with physical, social, and emotional experiences?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, ESV, Solomon speaking
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end (emphasis mine).
Ultimately, when we seek something we know our hearts need, but we fall for the substitute, we end up licking laptops, just like Delilah. We sit on the ottoman, one step away from engaging with our God, and settle for what is right in front of us instead of taking a leap of faith to see
what is beyond,
which adventures await,
where faith may take us.
I’ve interacted with God for a long time, and yet, I still often get hung up on the tangible, the distractions, and the obstacle that seems to be in my way. I convince myself that somehow that must be easier than just talking to Him.
Whether you know Him yet or not, what is stopping you from believing there’s something more beyond what is right in front of you?
It isn’t about striving. Jesus says his yoke is easy and light.
It’s about entering in and engaging with a holy God.
It’s about accepting His invitation.
Matthew 11:28-30, ESV, Jesus speaking
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Like my heart for my Shih Tzu that says: “Delilah, come sit with me. I’m just behind the item currently distracting you. Trust, and leap onto my chair,” our Father in heaven beckons us to cross the great divide that He made passable through His Son Jesus on the cross. He wants us to see how beautiful the walking trails are hand in hand with Him, and to get there, all we have to do is say:
“Jesus, I need You. Please take my hand.”
Samson & Delilah at their best
Photo credit: B. Brown, The Crate Escape
Why settle when we can interact with God, taking a leap of faith to see what is beyond, which adventures await, and where faith may take us?
— Bonnie Lyn Smith (@BonnieLynSmith) April 26, 2015
*This blog is a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.
**It has also been shared at Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Simply Inspired Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, and Christian Mommy Blogger.
More anecdotal stories about faith, family, and relationships can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).