Laz-ing away on the beach last weekend, I watched two little kids: pink-suited girl about four and toddler boy with sippy cup. Little girl had her towel spread just so and assumed the position for sunning, face-down, arms spread…for about three seconds. Then a seashell distracted her, and she sat up and examined it. Sippy boy flung sand at her, so she flung more back, then resumed the sunning position…for another three seconds. Then she had to situate her towel even more perfectly before resuming the position once again. Pretty soon, she had to see who might be watching her and locked eyes with me, thirty feet away. Now she became prissy and self-conscious as she gathered her little body and tried to rearrange, no longer satisfied with her position.
Meanwhile, sippy-cup boy wandered toward the ocean, eliciting verbal admonishments and finally foot chase from bikini mom. Pink-suited girl joined chase and plunged into the surf herself, hauling the boy out, feet dangling, still clutching sippy-cup.
I would like to think that I’m nothing like sippy boy; surely neither instigating a riot, nor plunging head-long into danger, nor holding too tightly to my possessions. Surely not.
But, oh, how like that little girl I can be! How many times have I assumed a worship position only to become distracted? My eyes focus on some chore that needs to be done; my mind wanders to something “more interesting”…like my own unworthy self. This is a shameful, painful admission.
And I must question other areas of my life. Perhaps I don’t intentionally instigate sand-slinging, but am I intentional in making peace?
Am I more concerned with getting my worship situation just right than with the eternal God who invites my worship?
I don’t even have to ask the next obvious question…I know how self-conscious and self-absorbed I can be. Physical expressions of worship, especially when I’m not alone, don’t come naturally to me. How grateful I am that the Lord knows my heart; yet, have I missed a blessing by being prissy and self-conscious in my public worship?
What does come naturally is being the “hero.” How cool is that to plunge into the surf and rescue a stray brother (or sister), especially if I think it will please my heavenly Parent!
Here comes the truly hard question. It’s really not about anybody’s approval, not my fellow worshipers, and really, not even my Father’s, because that makes my motives all about me. The real question is, where is my heart? Do I truly know and care about what’s going on with my sippy-cup siblings? Am I being the hero because I deeply love my sisters and absolutely desire their most prosperous well-being?
If only I can do away with pink bathing suits (literally and figuratively) and don the simple linen of an humble, loving saint!
Okay, ladies, let’s hear your heroic stories…or bathing suit tales, whichever!