Friday, 4 September 2020

Friday 4 September

I've just had a run. The dogs are fed and settling down to recover and to 'guard' the driveway. With Tim and Keziah away and Manu sleeping late, the rest of the house is quiet. As I strip off my running kit and step under the water, I am already relishing the thought of fresh clothes and morning coffee. I let the stream of water run over my neck and shoulders and reach for the shampoo.

I find an empty space. My hand waves around searching in vain for the bottle, and I peer through the jets in disbelief. Seconds later, my mind flashes back to the previous evening and the long shower Manu took to wash her hair. 'Darn those girls,' I mutter to myself, as I step dripping out of the shower and stomp naked along the tiled hallway to the girls' bathroom. Grabbing the poached bottle, I traipse back through my own puddles until I am under the water once more.

[Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash]

As I muttered to myself under the shower that morning, I felt stopped in my tracks. I heard that kind of quiet whisper that reminds us of something more true than our own offence, or lack of generosity. I was rehearsing those stock phrases that go something like, 'motherhood ... nothing of my own ... so presumptuous ... no respect ...' and mentally lining up the words I'd say later to my daughter. Then beneath my own inner monologue, I heard another voice.

Just a few days before, I had come across a question in a book I was reading. 'How do you pray?' the author asked. 'And what does this say about your relationship with God?'

At first I thought it was a bit of a basic question. (You can be sure that whenever we think that we are beyond a question like this, there is something we are missing.) And then my mind went back to childhood, to those times when we would make requests for Christmas presents. Mum and Dad did their best to furnish five kids with the gifts they wanted, but money was tight. So often, the Christmas gift in my mind was very different to the less expensive version that was wrapped and waiting under the tree on Christmas morning. As I reflected on this, I realised that so often I approach God guardedly. I bring my heart's desires but I modify my expectations. 

It's as if I say, 'here's what I really want. But I know that it would be really presumptuous to expect that, so I'll take whatever you can throw my way.' 

Given that my relationship with God is about much more than me making requests and waiting for the wrapped gift to materialise, I hadn't paused to take stock of this dynamic. Yet for sure this element of my prayer life revealed something about how I perceive my relationship with God.

Back to the shower ...

'How beautiful,' I heard the whisper say, 'That your daughter knows that whatever you have is hers. How lovely that she presumes on your generous heart to bless her. If only you approached me that way.'

And you know, it's true. There is nothing in God's heart that hears our desires, dreams, needs or longings and responds, 'So presumptuous ... no respect ... who does she think she is?' No! Rather, there is a gladness of heart to have us draw out of God's abundance, a willingness to provide what is needed, a fulfilment in being our source.

Still ... it's nice to be asked, you know?!

No comments:

Post a Comment