My life is still messy and playful…thankfully. The messy parts are mine, but playfulness originates In Father’s Heart. The Triune God does not see our mess, rather opportunities to reveal His playfulness, so that we may freely join Him. As we awaken to who we Truly are, His playfulness becomes ours. That’s one of the Grace-filled points of life.
Picture yourself on a boat in a river, with tangerine dreams and marmalade skies. No, wait! Sorry, I got distracted. Picture the scene: there I am on a Sunday morning, settling down on our kitchen bench, every one of the family having already eaten. Coffee in hand, I was so looking forward to a few minutes of heaven: time to read!
I mention to Cate, my beautiful wife and my best friend, that I will simply read here awhile and then tidy up the kitchen. I was fully intent on devouring a discourse on Grace, excited to have my eyes open and my mind renewed by Truth once again.
A few minutes later, life began to get messy. Cue, Star the muppet dog! She needed to go out for special business. So, not a few sentences in, I got up, leaving my coffee behind and opened the back door. Sit, Ger, sit. So I did. And guess what? The wonder that is Star needed back in. Imagine! So, up I get again. A whole paragraph now.
Sitting again, I found my place in my book only for life to get a little more messy: Star wanted her food. So, I fed her; quickly. Sit, Ger. Scanning for my place I hear, “Dad, can I have a yogurt, please?” Sure, sweetheart. Up again, to find the right yogurt pot and the right spoon (very important), and to settle my 3 year old on her chair. “Can I have one too?” Sure, son (who being 5, also required his special spoon, wherever it was). Everyone ok? “Yes, Daddy. Thank you.” Welcome.
Back on the bench, a cooler, hardly touched coffee in hand, I re-read the paragraph. This was a signal for my 3 year old to discover her spoon was unable to hold her required dollop of yogurt. Once that mess was cleaned up, my bum hit the bench again, with renewed hope and vigour, “Dad, can I have my vitamins?” Shuurre sweetheart. “Me too?” Shuure! So, back to the fridge I go, which is where I should have put my coffee in the first place, as I would have seen it more often. What? The dog needs out again? But, I only just….
So, I gathered the wee medicine cups as one of the children brought the bottle of chilled liquid vitamins over to the table. All seated, they awaited the dispensing of the said vitamins but, of course, I had to ensure they were well shaken and mixed beforehand. Taking the bottle from a small hand I shook it and instantly it’s yellow, syrupy contents went everywhere; table, book, coffee cup, toddlers, wall , dog, neighbours’ cat…
Now, I realise this is not a huge moment in the history of mankind, but my little piece of heaven had almost instantaneously vaporised! I saw my coffee, cold. I saw my book looking like someone had upchucked on it! I saw my little, peaceful oasis dissolve before my eyes. But the real mess was in my thinking!
“All I wanted was to read for five minutes! Who unscrewed the cap!?”
Where did that come from? Was that me? Sorry to say, it was. And sorry to say my toddlers took one look at dad and realised that their lego was suddenly drawing them like a magnet, as they slipped silently away.
I forgot to be playful. Why? The same reason we all do. Self-focus! It’s all about me! The truth of my Being was blurred by a dark cloud of self-pity, manifesting in a heaviness and a sense of frustration and wanting to blame someone else. Mumbling to myself, I cleaned the table, the book, the cup and the neighbour’s cat. Thankfully, Cate came in and stilled the waters.
I had forgotten who I Truly was: A son, created in the image and likeness of the Triune God. I had forgotten that it’s no longer I who live, but Christ. I had replaced other-centerdness with self-centerdness. In the light of my wife reminding me who I truly am and to get a grip – I mean, to hold everything in perspective – I recalled how my children had vacated their dad’s presence. Not good.
I had lost an opportunity to play in the mess of the moment. Thankfully, I reminded myself there is no condemnation, no shame, no guilt. And more importantly I reminded my children too, as I apologised for selfishness and getting upset for no reason. Is there ever one?
What I thought was an opportunity to read about Grace in my wee slice of coffee heaven, became a gift given to experience Grace and see Heaven in real relationship and the unfolding fellowship of adventure that is family. Isn’t every moment?
As we awaken to who we really are In Christ Jesus, we discover we are free from all expectations to be perfect, to have our theology perfect or our relationships perfect! Christ Lives In us sharing His Life with us, that we too may know Father as He does: pressure to perform is taken off, completely.
It’s still not about getting your self perfected or righteous or holy, by jumping through a maze of religious legalisms. It is always about Jesus Christ, and what became of Him and us In Him. The new Law of the Spirit of Life In Christ Jesus has set us Free. We have been transferred from the domain of darkness (an identity crisis, believing lies about ourselves, God and others) into the Kingdom of His Son, new creations In Him! We can rest as Holy Spirit assures and persuades us that it is Christ’s Own Perfection In us that will manifest as we learn to be playful, continuing to abide In Truth and to adore our seamless Union In the Triune God. It is Christ’s Life In us, therefore, His Joy, His Obedience, His Rest, His Peace and His Perfect Existence and His relationship with Papa which we get to experience as our own.
My life is still messy and playful. Thankfully, I am still learning to play in the mess. I am also beginning to realise that each circumstance and situation is nothing other than a unique gift to remind us of who we truly are In Christ. I am learning to unlearn much of what I thought I knew to be sacrosanct, and can now joyfully behold the Truth of Grace, of Christ In me and Christ In All.
If, perhaps, your life is messy and playful too, wonderful! Life is messy and playful and I am so thankful that it’s not up to us to clean up the mess. We get to learn to play in the mess with a Dad who loves cold coffee and reading the stained pages of his favourite book.
As He Is.
Wow, that’s a word: “Learn to play in the mess.”
I’m still learning! Thanks Christie. You are always so encouraging! Truly appreciated!
Thank you so much for sharing this! This post is so personable and inspiring and, as usual, filled with Truth! 😀
Thank you so much Iona! You are a delight!
Amen and amen! Love this post so much…
Thank you Malana! Bless you with Grace and playfulness in abundance…which I believe you have!
Thanks for your honesty Gerry. The stain on the book will be a lasting memory of Father’s playful lesson! Us dads have these moments of eruption all the time. (I’m sure I’m not the only one) Your sensitivity to its harm bears witness of how the Spirit is working to open up more of his powerful grace in your lives. I will try to remember this when I have my next eruption!
Thanks Higgi. It’s amazing we have a Dad who is so other-focused and playful! He has emptied Himself and given us of Himself entirely, so our being able to play along with Him is guaranteed. Can’t wait! Bless you with Grace in abundance, my brother. G