“Moomm, I’m hungrryyy…”
Sigh. It seems we have this conversation multiple times throughout the week.
“If you would have eaten all of your lunch, you wouldn’t be hungry now buddy, you’re just going to have to wait till dinner time now”
“but Moooommmm! I’m hungry nnnooowwwww!”
“Yes, that’s because you didn’t eat.your.food.when.I.told.you.to…” (I can feel my teeth clenching, the stress headache coming on…)
Crying commences, more talking, more whining and arguing… ” Oh WHY can’t he just learn this lesson, Lord?!”
I bemoan in my head as the said child continues to cry that I will not give him anything else to eat until the next appointed meal. If I feed him on demand, then I feel like I am allowing him to control our day in more ways than just mealtime. And I even tried that, for a little while, because an article I read suggested that “some children are just on a different hunger schedule than others”, and, feeling frustrated, I went with it only to find that he simply just doesn’t want to sit still long enough to finish a meal, or he’s feeling picky at that particular meal and decides that he know longer wants what is served to him. But an hour later when the hunger strikes again, he still refuses what’s on his previous plate and asks for whatever his tastes buds are craving like, say, ice cream, and the battle resumes all-over again. This boy’s energy is boundless, the only time I don’t see him moving is when he is asleep.
It’s exhausting… and on this particular day I was ready to just sit down and cry with him. I KNOW he needs to just discipline himself to eat the food when it is served to him, and to eat ALL of it so that his little body is fully nourished at each meal… but how do I get HIM to see that??? I bring my hand to my brow and I say it silently again to the Lord, “Lord, I am SO frustrated, when is he going to get it? How do I help my little boy eat what I serve him? He needs the nourishment, he needs the self discipline…” I take a deep breath and as I am exhaling all the tension God speaks and says, “You realize you do the same thing, right?”
I gasp, and cough, and I sputter with shock and indignation as I question the Lord as to what He meant exactly, and how in the WORLD does this apply to me… and it slowly dawns on me that just that morning I couldn’t sit still long enough to study my bible AND pray, because we had a full day planned and there had been much to do to prepare for it…the sheepish, guilty look on my face must have said it all.
Lessons from Littles. My littles. I get them all the time, do you? God uses these little half-mes to teach me an amazing amount of depth and truth on a daily basis. Lately, he’s been using this little guy A LOT. Half the time when my boy is eating a meal, he is standing with one leg on the floor and one leg with knee bent on the chair. His whole body moving around, fidgeting, restless, much to the dismay of his father and I. “Sit down and EAT.” “Would you STOP moving please?!” “Wait, you’re not done- eat your vegetables” “Drink your milk” And on and on it goes, until we are both exhausted from the meal with our hyper little superhero. He’s BUSY. He’s got things on his mind, like how to find those worms in the backyard, or how to scare his older brother right, or how he’s going to jump from the swing onto the trampoline in one swoop. He’s got to know why those thorns are so sharp and at which angle you must throw a rock in order to send it whizzing through the tree tops. He’s going places and taking time to EAT interferes with that.
I can hear the Lord now:
“Would you SIT STILL?” –Those dishes will wait, the floor can be swept in a little bit…
“STOP MOVING…” –Be still mama, the bills will still be there when we’re through, you can’t marathon through My Presence…
“Wait-you’re not done yet!” —Don’t just skip over that scripture in a hurry, you NEED to ingest that one, chew on it bit, study it, pray it, receive it…
“Drink…” —Oh drink Me in mama, and refresh your soul before rushing out into this world today!
What does God want from me that I want for my little man? He wants me to slow down and eat at the appointed meal times and to eat EVERYTHING on my plate so that I am wholly nourished!
The very thing I am fighting to work in my boy is the principle God is trying to work in me! You see, hunger comes when we are not filled. And lately, I’ve been HUNGRY. I have the internal hunger pains to prove it– in fact, I’ve been downright starving and the only real answer is to sit down and eat in order to be filled. When the meal is served, I have to willing to discipline myself to eat the meal. I have to learn to REST at mealtime in order to have optimal digestion too. Europeans have long been saying that Americans are always in too much of a hurry and that we, and our health, would greatly benefit from just slowing down to enjoy our meals…I’m beginning to truly believe there is a spiritual principle in that one!
Have you ever tried to feed a baby that didn’t want to eat??? ( all mamas are nodding, knowingly, worldwide) NO amount of pressure or forcing is going to make them eat, is it? What you will have is a big mess to clean up later though! My babies were especially adept at avoiding squash– I tried every way I could think of, but to no avail! In the end, we always ended up with one cranky baby heading for a bath, one cranky mama and a huge mess in the kitchen as well as an extra load of laundry. The truth is, until they were WILLING, they weren’t going to eat. Well, I don’t want the struggle and mess anymore, I want the rich, succulent, fragrant meal of Christ in my life on a daily basis! It’s not that I haven’t been willing to eat at all, but I have definitely not been eating a full meal like I should.
So, I’ve decided that anytime I feel His prompting, anytime I catch a whiff of a “meal’ being prepared for me, that I am going to stop what I am doing and I am going to make myself sit down and eat that meal– no matter how many distractions vie for my attention. If he serves it 5am in the morning, I’ll come to the table. If He serves it at 3 pm, I’ll pull up my chair. If He lights the candles for a intimate dinner for two, I’ll come with the fragrance of my worship and my voracious appetite. Because He’s SO.Worth.IT.
And my little man? He’ll get it eventually, because his mama is getting it too. We’ll keep at it until the training is complete and fruit comes. Healthy, nourished, and growing bodies. It’s what we all need, right?
Lord, I receive the meals You provide and I give my time to You as You call for it. I determine in my heart today that not only will I eat at the appointed times the richness of Your Word, but I will make the time to eat ALL that You have prepared for me. Show me how to lay my time at Your feet and rest in the times You have prepared for me. Thank you for nourishing and strengthening me with Your Word and Your Presence, thank You for making me whole. In Jesus Name, Amen