I’m holier when my 2-year-old does sleepovers


My daughter got to stay at my parents’ early this week for two whole nights. A special treat.

As excited as she was at this prospect, I have to admit that I was feeling the buzz as well. Because the thing about having one child gone is that I can predict exactly what the results will be around here:

I’ll wake up to a clean living room for the first time in weeks. I’ll do the dishes in peace, sipping tea and watching the baby babble to herself on the floor. I’ll have devotional time uninterrupted (at the most there will be a baby attached to my frontside while I read, but that’s nothing). And the prayer! The communion I’ll experience! Besides all this, there will be no flares of my temper, because pressure will not arise to squeeze the temper out of me.

In short, I’m a holier person when my 2-year-old does sleepovers.

Isn’t it clear? I am fuller of the Holy Spirit—note the visible signs of peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I’m more in tune with God—my ears are open because of all this quiet! I’m even physically healthier—more sleep, better food, more exercise. Which of course reaps spiritual benefit of its own (come to find out, healthiness is also next to godliness. I’ve had a special revelation about that in the last 24 hours).

Imagine my surprise when I sat down to commune with God in the blissful ether of a clutterless living room and I came to Psalm 16 as part of my daily assignment:

 

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;

I have no good apart from you.”

 

…5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;

you hold my lot.

6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;

in the night also my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the Lord always before me;

because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;

my flesh also dwells secure.

10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

This is not a prayer for moments when no pressure is on you. It is a prayer that only makes sense when something is pushing on you hard enough for something to come out. And when the sqeezing occurs—the kind of squeezing that God in his providence measures to you on a normal day with normal responsibilities and maybe that one thing extra that makes you feel outdone—when the squeezing occurs, that is when this kind of prayer can come from your lips and make sense:

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I have no good apart from you.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

Oh for the Lord to be my lot! For me to know at all times and in all days, that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places because of he, himself, my beautiful inheritance!

If I feel no discomfort, there is no pleading in my voice when I say these words. My soul longs for him in a new way when I am pressed by deadline or diaper, bill or bedtime, overflowing washer or overflowing toddler heart.

Then can I say with urgency and gratitude:

 

You make known to me the path of life;

    in your presence there is fullness of joy;

    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

So I’m thankful for this rest. I’m thankful for the gift that I have of family close by so that I can have times like these of rejuvenating my spirit in the quiet. But I’m also ready to get that toddler back over here and resume our everyday, sanctifying life.

This is where God most makes known to me the path of life. This is where I can taste the fullness of joy that is from his presence and not from a toddler’s absence. A spot at his right hand is where I find pleasures forevermore—and these are not the pleasures of a clean floor. These pleasures, instead, overflow from a full cup that contains my chosen portion and my lot: Christ himself, my savior and the lover of my soul.

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