I have four children. Three of whom know my name.
The fourth is too young to have words, but she knows my face and, to her, my name sounds more like screaming bloody murder.
The older three, however, have mastered the short, one-syllable word.
They have become so adept at this name, that for most of them, it effortlessly (and sometimes involuntarily) slips out of their mouth about every third word.
That’s four children. My name. Every third word.
Now, I’ve never been a math person, but I think that means, on average, my kids say my name somewhere around 238798223598732094587 per minute.
And lately, that has really stuck a nerve.
I can’t think. Can’t use the restroom. Can’t have a conversation. Can’t leave the room. All I can do is drown in the sound of my own name.
And it all came to a boiling explosion when I went to my office to lesson plan for their schooling. I had just enough time to walk into my office and sit in my chair before someone barged in, shouting my name, demanding justice be served to their sibling.
That was it. I had had it.
I stormed out of the office and gathered them all together.
“Can’t I have 5 seconds to walk into the other room to do something FOR YOU without you coming at me with another problem?” My voice rose louder with each word. “Can’t I have ONE MINUTE to THINK?”
(Insert Mom of the Year Award here.)
“It’s just that…” my oldest spoke calmly, gesturing slowly with her hands, as she braved going toe-to-toe with Psycho Mom. “You kind of rule…us. You tell us what to do and how to do it, and you’re the one who gives us consequences. So we need you when other people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to.”
Her response threw me. I was expecting to keep frothing at the mouth for as long as it took them to understand that Mom. Needed. Some. Space.
But instead, I couldn’t help but chuckle.
My daughter said I rule.
Well, she said I kind of rule.
And it was enough to shake me from my crazed state.
So, with a smile and a much more normal voice, we all had a discussion about how Mom needs to focus without interruptions sometimes.
“It’s like I need some sort of force field,” I mused out loud, scratching my chin. “That’s it—I’ll make a force field! And any time I need to do something by myself, I’ll turn the force field on. Deal?”
All the kids smiled. Whether they actually liked the idea or were just glad to be out of trouble, I don’t know. But whatever the case, the deal still stood.
And to this day, no one has dared cross paths with this intimidating force field.
It isn’t any wonder then, that I got to thinking inside my little, uninterrupted bubble. And, as they tend to do, my thoughts drifted to God.
About how God has billions of children. Many of whom know His name and have mastered the one-syllable words.
God. Lord. Christ.
Many of us have become so adept at these names, that they effortlessly (and sometimes involuntarily) slip from our mouth in vain.
But how many times do we say His name and mean it? How many times do we pray wholeheartedly? How many times do we try to make His name every third word out of our mouth?
Or, like me, do you find yourself too distracted or tired to have a quality conversation with Him?
(Can you imagine if the few time your kids talked to you, it was in a disinterested, distracted way or only when they wanted something? I imagine that must be like raising teenagers. *Shudder*)
Crazy as it sounds, God wants to drown in the sound of His name. He wants us to barge in over and over and over. He wants us to say His name repeatedly and mean it. He wants us to be like little kids and pursue Him with passion.
That’s billions of children. His name. Every third word.
Now, I’ve never been a math person, but I think that means, on average, we should say His name more times than I can count.
And yet, it’s the absence of His name, the lack of intentional prayer, that must surely strike a nerve.
Because the truth is, a long time ago, people built a force field. An impenetrable wall between us and God. God didn’t build it. We did. We built it out of disobedience and mischief and arrogance and sin. Then we were completely separated and had no way of getting to our Father. He was stuck all alone in his little, uninterrupted bubble. (Which, might I add, sounds glorious.)
But God didn’t want to be separated.
So, in His perfect love and mercy, He gave us His only Son who singlehandedly paved a path back to heaven for us. And, if that wasn’t enough, He also gave us something that could break through the invisible barrier while we’re still on this side of heaven—a lifeline to connect us to Him whenever we wanted.
It’s called prayer.
“Now, any time you want to be with Me, you can speak to me directly. Deal?” He says, smiling.
All us kids smiled back. Whether we actually liked the idea or were just glad to feel like we were out of trouble, I don’t know. But whatever the case, the deal still stood.
And to this day, we can all dare to cross paths with the intimidating force field.
You know why?
Because God rules.