About a week ago one of my kids said "Mom, I feel like you're always working and never have time to play." What?! Perhaps this wouldn't have been so ironic and surprising if it weren't for the fact that I'm a STAY AT HOME MOM! I mean, if I can do anything, I should be able to play, right?!
My initial reaction was to start my list of defense: What about the fact that I actually went down the slide with you last week at the park? Or yesterday when I sat and watched a kid movie with you that I can practically quote I've seen so many times? Or that just days ago I helped throw your class a party at school? What about the fact that we've read books by the handfuls over the last few days? Or that I signed up to chaperone two field trips in the next two weeks?
But then I realized that this is a new day. And she wasn't thinking about all the great "playing" I'd done in the last few days or week.
She wasn't really concerned about the dinner I was trying to make, the bills I was trying to pay, the laundry I was trying to fold, or the email I was trying to respond to (yes...all at the same time!).
In that moment she was concerned about playing. Because I hadn't really done that today.
And I thought of a prayer I'd read recently that said "Help us remember that they want our attention more than our service" (Sally Clarkson in The Ministry of Motherhood p.38).
And so, I stopped and I played.
Now don't get me wrong....we can't, and we shouldn't, stop and meet every whim and wish of our children every second of the day. We can't always put dinner, laundry and other responsibilities on hold right when our kids ask.
But sometimes, deep in our hearts, I think we know that we aren't really focusing on what's important. Sometimes we need to just stop, take a few minutes, and play.
Or stop, and take that call.
Or stop, and talk to that neighbor.
Or stop, and make that lunch date.
"I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23)
Lord, please direct our steps. And when you lead in a different way than we were planning to go, may we drop everything and follow...even when you just want us to be willing to play.