I hear this several trillion times a day as my 17-month-old claws at my thighs.
Immediately followed by the inevitable, "Down! Down!" as he pushes me away and attempts to nose dive into the kitchen tile.
Perfectly impersonating my relationship with my Lord.
"Up! Up!" I say, when I need comfort or help or assistance or want to take the easy way out. I'm bored of being low and doing things myself.
Listen to my call, God! Do what I want when I want it! Pick me up! Get me out of here!
Up! UP! I say! Do your all powerful God stuff and whisk me away from this mess! Hold me close, be bigger than me. Bigger than whatever I'm in the middle of. Dry my tears, kiss my injuries, love me, help me, save me. Even if I'm the reason I'm crying and hurting. Even if it's because I didn't listen to you in the first place. I need your arms, your strength to lift me UP!
Up! UP! I call, when I'm just plain bored. When I want something new, something different. And, oh yeah, I just noticed! I totally forgot, God, you're standing right there! Lift me up out of my apathy, complacency, give me something else. I'm bored with this life, these gifts, these toys, so I think I'll try hanging out with You for a while.
But all too quickly, I push for my independence.
Down! Down! I don't want these arms. I've had enough of Your love and comfort. I'm better now, You dried my tears, so I don't want Your arms anymore. I want my own plan, my ideas, my path. I want to get back to doingwhat I want, when I want it, because I've forgotten that is what caused the hurt.That is why I was sad and sought your soothing affection in the first place.
Down! Down! I'm bored with this, with You! I want my things again, my toys, my earthly desires, my "freedom." Your Words are too constraining. Your guidance too frustrating. I can do it all myself. "Me do it!" And I push and kick even though, if You let go, I'll land on my head on that hard wood floor.
But I know best.
So I repeat. Down! Down!
Just like a toddler, certain I know it all, unaware of the danger I pose to myself.
The other day, I tried to hold my son's hand at the playground. I wanted to guide him away from playing with the zippers on a stranger's diaper bag. Because that is probably the. most. boring. thing. At the entire playground.
Zippers are lame! We have zippers at home! There is a zipper on your jacket, kid! Forget the freakin' zipper!
I wanted to show him something fantastic, something in which he would find immeasurable delight ... the slide!
He would have loved the slide!
He would have let out a big ol', deep down belly laugh. The kind that comes up from his toes, fills his entire body, and erupts in a giant smile that envelopes his chubby, little face and makes his eyes sparkle.
He would have emerged at the bottom of the slide, lifted his arms to the heavens and shouted, "YAY!" out of joy and pride in his accomplishment.
And he would have topped it off with his special touch down dance, a funny little bob up and down, bending his knees to his own little beat.
He would have loved the slide.
But as I went for his hand, he bit me. Hard.
That was that. He missed out. Not even knowing what he missed out on. All because he wouldn't take his eyes off someone else's stupid zipper! A zipper?!
As I left the playground, with Crazy Toddler crying in the back, I wondered...
How many times have I pulled my hand away from God? Intent on my own pursuits, when He was trying to guide me toward something else?
I wondered if I was ever so determined in my pursuit that I bit His loving hand.
I pray that this Crazy Toddler will teach me to stop acting so much like one myself.
I pray that, instead, I will always be calling "Up! Up!"
I pray that if I am to be released to walk in my own power
I pray that every time Crazy Toddler says "Up! Up!" or "Down! Down!" I am reminded of this Scripture...
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
In what areas do you push God away? Where do you seek your own desires, your own power, your independence? Do you sometimes feel like a giant toddler?
Join the club, sister. I'm right there with you. Share your thoughts, struggles, or comments below. Or e-mail me at mrsmarieosborne(at)gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!
Marie Osborne is a wife, mom, coffee drinker, loud laugher, & Jesus follower. When she isn't laughing with her husband, texting with her girlfriends, singing with her preschooler, or chasing after her toddler twins, she's probably writing at her blog while binge watching Netflix.