“Look at this!”
“Uh huh, cool.”
“Mom. Mooooom! You didn’t see!”
I look up, because he’s right, I didn’t see. I was just saying something to appease him for a moment while I finished reading an article. My thumb has frozen over the screen, and I put it to the side so I can really see him, not see him secondhand over the illumination of my phone. He does it again: he shows me how he can balance on one foot. It really isn’t amazing, but to him, it absolutely is. And I tell him so.
He’s my son. He wants my approval because he is my son. He wants my praise and attention, and he has been fighting for it his whole life because wherever I am, there my phone is also.
In my pocket lie hundreds of thousands of people and their soapboxes. It’s my contact with the outside world when I feel overwhelmed with pregnancy and motherhood as I send a text out to asking for prayer. It’s my note keeper and calendar, my venture in being a writer. It is my escape, like a numbing lidocaine after a hard day. I seek not to feel, so I scroll and get blasted with the emotions of everyone else. It isn’t an escape at all. It’s only a false sense of relief that my life isn’t as hard as everyone else’s.
Working, mothering, housekeeping, growing a human is all hard enough on it’s own. I am tired. And you know what I can’t bring myself to do on a daily basis? Get on my knees. Put the Word on my lips. Praise the God I love.
You know what I can do, what I do instead? Scroll. Read my newsfeed. Worship the god of information and push away the God of redemption. The reflection in the mirror starts turning somber, disappointed again and again by a world that will never be perfected, and discouraged by our inability to shut up. We become the teachers Paul writes about, spreading some form of our own Gospel and Truth that Jesus doesn’t want the world to hear.
And we yell. We fight. We argue. We see disaster, cringe, then rally, but it’s never enough. We keep reading. We keep being outraged. We keep feeling like the world is an absolute failure, and we’ll never be able to fix it.
We aren’t the hands and feet of Jesus. We’re all just a bunch of mouths, spewing our interpretations of Christ.
Maybe the world would be better if we weren’t so interested in being heard. Maybe the Gospel would really do the work if we stopped trying to argue about it and change it. Maybe if we disconnected from the thousands and thousands in our pocket and started listening to the ones right next to us, we might not be a bunch of mouths. We might start doing the work.
I was driving home the other night while the sun was setting. The word “worship” came to mind, and I started to toss it around in my head. What kind of woman would I be if my knees were perpetually to the earth, doing every action with my hands, feet, and the words of my mouth in constant worship? What would that look like?
I didn’t expect it to rattle me. Thinking about this stuff doesn’t normally bring me to tears, but I felt them hot behind my eyes. It was like God swept up this thought in my head and this simple little word and said, “Sweet girl, you were made for that. This world is awful, terrible, difficult, and grim. You will see strife. Worship still. Get your knees to that earth. Every detail of your life, make it into praise. Imagine the outcome.”
What kind of people would we be?
As I’m typing this, my two youngest are performing a song right in front of me. Loudly and terribly. They want me to stop writing because they want my attention. My praise. They want me to hear them and smile. So I will. I will stop worshiping a god who never loved me back, who produces a somber woman, and who can never free me.
Here’s to being the hands and feet, no longer just mouthpieces. Here’s to being loud when it’s necessary but primarily silent so we can listen. Here’s to disconnecting from what doesn’t serve God and giving the people in front of us the attention they deserve.
Here’s to making every detail a form of praise.