We were getting ready for bed–bath, jammies, and packing lunches–when my little girl walked into the kitchen and asked, “Mommy, God is the most important, right?”
Laying down my PB&J knife I turned to her and said, “Yes. Yes He is. Why do you ask?”
Immediately, she came again with another question. “He’s more important than my tattoo, right?”
Looking at the sparkly rose that rested on her arm (the one that Belle gave her at the Princess Ball this weekend), I responded and said, “Yes, Evie. He is. Why do you ask?”
To be entirely honest, I had ZERO clue where this was headed.
“Mommy, I’ve been focusing on my tattoo all day. I have been making it the most important.”
I was floored. Truly, I had no clue that her heart had been so focused on it…no idea that her gaze had been so fixed.
Kneeling on the floor, I took her in my arms and simply said, “Evie Rae, I love that your heart knows what is most important. I can see Jesus working in you.”
She smiled; I pushed back some tears at the edges of my eyes; and we continued on with bath time.
As I finished making a bed time bottle and scooped some ice cream for a bed time snack, I heard her words in the bathroom.
“Daddy, please take it off.”
Immediately, I knew she was speaking of the tattoo.
“Oh it’s okay, Evie. You can just keep your arm above water. We don’t have to wash it off. Let’s try and keep it,” was her daddy’s response.
I walked to the bathroom because I could hear emotion in her voice.
“No, daddy. Please take it off. I don’t want to focus on it so much.”
Locking eyes with her daddy, I simply said, “Babe, she wants it off. She doesn’t want it to be the focus of her attention. I think we should let her take it off.”
In agreement, he grabbed the washcloth and began to take off the sparkly rose that lined her little arm. As I left the bathroom, I just wept.
Our girl knew her heart. She knew where her gaze had gone, and she was bothered by her preoccupation. In her fear of the tattoo coming off, she had spent the day focusing on it. In her Spirit-filled, soon-to-be-five-year-old heart, she knew that she was being consumed by the sparkle…making it the “most important.”
And what was her response?
She wanted to remove it.
She wanted it gone.
She wanted freedom from the fixation.
And as I thought through the wisdom and maturity in her response, I was humbled.
It wasn’t the tattoo that was bad; it was her preoccupation with it.
Oh, how her mama relates!
TOO many times, I get focused on the “sparkles” of life. TOO often, I get fixated on the “temporary tattoos” of life. TOO frequently, I give up my freedom and find myself consumed by the things that threaten to shackle me to this earth.
Approval. Appearance. Competency.
My time. My work. My leisure.
This. That. Them.
And on and on it goes.
And do you know what I don’t always do that our daughter did tonight?
I don’t scrub them off.
Instead, I justify them…rationalize them…cozy up with them…compromise with them…and refuse to believe that sometimes the “pretty and good” can become idols of my heart and statues in my soul.
Not often enough do I turn to my heavenly Father and humble ask, “Daddy, would you please take them off?”
How quick He would be to help His children to tear down the things we have shackled our hearts to! How committed He would be to help us take off the things we have bent our knees in worship to! How faithful He would be to help us with the things that hinder our WORSHIP, distract our DEVOTION, and preoccupy our PRAISE!
Friends, He is a jealous God who wants ALL of our gaze, and He wants ALL of us because we are ALL of His.
His glory demands it; His holiness deserves it; and His love drives it.
For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14
I don’t know what glitters with gold on the “arm of your life,” but here’s what I do know…
God is ready to help us break the chains; He is eager to tear down the walls; and He is able to scrub off the things that defile our worship and threaten our souls.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. Psalm 107:13-16