“Mom, can tigers climb up trees?”
My son is five. He asked me this question as we were lying on the couch watching the Lion King. (I mean, they’re lions, and not tigers. But whatever. I didn’t get into it.) He asked me this question and I immediately busted out into tears. I’m serious. I started wondering what on earth was wrong with me and then realized –
He trusted me to answer him. He had a random thought in his head and because I chose to sit and be with him instead of finishing unloading the dishwasher, there was space. Space for him to tell me about the Lightning McQueen chair he wanted and the random question about tigers. Space for him to talk without any hesitation.
Without any audible words, Jesus said to me, “This is all I’m looking for from you.”
Space. Time. Closeness. A conversation that isn’t filtered or already planned out.
I am so busy. My life is busy, but I MAKE myself busy. It is a ridiculously hard choice for me to stop. I think we’ve believed the lie that we have no control over our time. When in reality, we make choices every single second. We have responsibilities that often aren’t in our control, but we do have a choice. Of what we do, and how we do it.
Part of the problem is I think we often make our time with Jesus busy, too. Gotta worship, gotta read His word; gotta pray about this and that, and her, and him, and God please help me in these areas because I’m just losing it all over the place… and also, would you answer the way I’ve already planned out you would answer me? When maybe, He just wants to be with you. Your holy God is waiting for you to just enjoy being with Him, too, instead of making it another thing to check off the list of the day.
We’ve lost our wonder in the world around us – and in doing so, we lose the wonder that is God. We are too busy moving, thinking, planning, worrying. But in order for us to approach God without a small little gate constantly obsessing over what comes in and out, we’ve got to trust Him. Trust that He knows the answers whether He tells us what they are or not. Trust that He values being with you over what you do for Him.
Trust that not only can He handle the unfiltered version of you, but that’s the version of you that He created.
He didn’t form you before the foundation of the world with intentions of walls to protect you; or filters to mask your imperfections before you approach a perfect God. He created you raw, real, full of life and wonder. Holy and blameless [Ephesians 1:4]. But unless we lay our defenses and our masks down, and allow the space for Him to actually listen and to speak – we feel distance. It’s not what we want – and most of the time, we have no idea how to bridge the gap.
But hear me: the distance is a lie.
He removed the veil so that there would be absolutely nothing blocking you from Him other than the issues that you put there. And not only has He already removed every obstacle to get to Him – He’ll show you the blocks you’ve unintentionally put there, and help you get rid of them.
This isn’t just some far-off idea that Jesus is with you wherever you go, although He is. If you’ve accepted who He is, then His Spirit is absolutely literally inside of you, sealed, until the day of redemption [Ephesians 4:30]. You want to try to tell God that there’s distance between you and Him? He’s looking at you from the inside, begging you to see that He’s always 100% present; ready and willing for all of you.
What on earth have we done to deserve Him? Absolutely nothing. So let’s stop acting like we can somehow earn our way there. Let’s choose the version of us that He made so lovingly and intentionally. When we finally accept all of Him, we can somehow accept all of who He made us to be. And we can live in confidence and freedom knowing that He truly is near, and He actually does love us just as we are.
Oh, and tigers can climb trees, right?
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:16-17