I’ve found that some of the best heart-to-heart conversations with my boy happen in the car.
His little busybody is strapped into his car seat with nowhere to go, no gadgets to entertain him, and no goodies to distract him. Oh, and since he’s rather short for his age (3 1/2 years old and finally sporting 2T pants this fall), his eyes are pretty much glued to my face in the rear view mirror.
So in an attempt to grab his ears and maybe even his heart, I posed a question on the way home from Target last week.
“Caden, are toys more important or is Jesus more important?”
Without any hesitation, he threw the “Sunday school answer” to the curb and yelled, “Toys!!”
The following conversation then ensued:
Me: Actually, buddy, Jesus is the most important.
Caden: No, Mommy. Toys make me smile.
Me: That makes sense, buddy. Toys ARE fun, but Jesus is the most important.
Me: Do you know why Jesus is the most important?
Internal Me: In less than two seconds, you are going to have to explain to a three year-old why Jesus is the most important? HOW do you plan on doing THAT? I have no clue, but we’ll cross that bridge in one second.
Caden: He died for our sins!!!
Me (shocked and slightly relieved): Wow, buddy! You’re right! He did die for our sins and that is EXACTLY why He’s the most important.
Caden: Yeah, Mommy…Jesus is the most ‘portant.
And that was it…or at least I thought that was it…until my sad, sullen self sat sulking on the couch a few days later with a Reese’s in hand.
I was analyzing, and I was assuming.
I was fretting, and I was fearing.
I was second-guessing, and I was stewing.
I was re-living, and I was re-playing.
I was wishing, and I was wondering.
I was distressing, and I was doubting.
And as I sat there fixating all my energies and emotions on others, my heart received some simple, whispered questions.
“Jessica, are others more important or is Jesus more important?”
And then another came…
“Jessica, who died for your sins?”
And then one more…
“Jessica, if you say Jesus is the most important, then why are you living like others are the most important?”
OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!
I sat there with three “ouchies” to the ‘ol yucky heart, and the Reese’s was gone.
And the first thought that popped into my overwhelmed head was as follows: Well, at least Caden was able to be straight-up honest about what’s most important to him.
And the second thought that quickly followed behind the first: Though you are quick to proclaim the “Sunday school answer” with your mouth, you often live a life where in all reality…JESUS is SECOND and OTHERS are FIRST.
I wish I could tell you that I jumped off the couch that afternoon with a kick in the pants and a pep in my step, but I didn’t. Though I knew there was truth in those couch whispers, I didn’t want to agree.
I didn’t want to receive it; I didn’t want to own it; and I most certainly didn’t want to work on it. So what did I do? I fought, and I fought hard.
Sparing you a bunch of details (though some would be juicy), suffice to say, I tried in every which way to push away the conviction, to ignore the harsh reality that I often live my life fixated on others.
Folks, it’s ugly. I can’t even pretend. Idol worship is YUCK.
And after three days of heart battle, Jesus whispered (again) at the foot of Caden’s bed.
Looking back, I’m not really sure why I did this (because I’ve NEVER done this before), but I think it had something to do with a weary, semi-defeated heart that was grasping for straws. Seriously, it’s hard work fighting conviction.
Me: Caden, will you pray for Mommy tonight?
Me: Because I’m sad and tired.
Me: Because I often let others be the most important.
Caden: Oh. Okay.
With no extra “why’s,” he started praying (I am still shocked).
God loved us and sent His Son. Help Mommy.
Did I just hear him right? Yep, yep I did. Short and sweet, he had just prayed one of his Awana verses for me.
And what Awana verse did he pray?
Oh, ya know…the one that pretty much sums up the essence of our car conversation that had happened over a week ago.
And if there is such a thing as a “whisper scream,” which I kind of think there is, that’s pretty much how I would describe the whisper that came next.
“JESSICA!!! I died for you. NO other soul has EVER died to rescue you. THIS is EXACTLY why I am the MOST IMPORTANT. And if you truly believe it, then there’s not a single other soul (or thing) that should ever be more important than ME.”
And as I left his room humbled and broken, I could only nod my head in agreement.
Because even though my idols may differ from Caden’s, they both have faces.
Lord, may my happiness and hope, my peace and portion, my sanity and security, my center and core…be YOU and YOU alone.