We have a new member in our family. She is a gray calico kitten named Elizabeth Sparkles (Elsie for short). Elsie was a recent gift to my oldest daughter on her 8th Birthday. My girls wasted no time prettifying their new pal. They dressed Elsie in doll clothes and put barrettes in her fur. The kitten looked adorable, overwhelmed, exhausted, and completely in love with her little masters and all the attention she received from them. Within a few days the excitement had sort of worn off. The sun was shining and my kiddos were aching to be outside with the other neighbor kids. Elsie sat at the door and stared, as if she didn't understand how there could be anything else in the world more important than petting and playing with her.
The thing about babies- of any kind- is that they demand attention. Elsie is no different. She is feisty and playful and desperate to be seen. The first week, my children's hands were full of tiny scratches their new friend had inflicted in her youthful attempt at play. Elsie was eager to be held and chased after my little ones so closely that it was a wonder she didn't get accidentally stepped on. She wanted to be everywhere they were.
Honestly, there is no green thumb on my hand. I lack the ability or desire to garden. I'd rather visit the dentist. But it's not just babies and gardens that need attention. Look around the house. Where did all the stuff come from? It's time to make room for the new, pack up the old and start fresh. Have you looked in the closets? By Spring our children's clothing is getting snug and we begin to prepare for the new season and allow for new clothes to fit their new growth. A lot of things demand our attention, but if we are brave enough to be real we'll admit that we ourselves strive for a bit of attention too.
What mom doesn't crave the strokes of a compliment from her husband or children? We soak up attention as pathetically as my new kitten. I'm sure that if we had the ability we'd even purr. It's not just people we seek attention from, often we wrestle with our need to be "seen" by God. We long for a spiritual pat on the back from our Heavenly Father. We seek His attention so desperately that we can exhaust ourselves trying to bring pleasure to Him. We say no to nothing, take every opportunity to minister, put everyone else's needs first and pour out until we're drained and empty. "God," we ask "you are seeing this right?" Though we may never be bold enough to admit it, we wonder if we've done enough to earn His love.
Oh surely He loves all of our effort. I'm certain He's pleased with our willingness to serve. However, He also wants us to rest. He longs for us to trust His love for us and relax in His peace. We don't have to earn His love, He gave it freely. Just like my children covered in kitten scratches continued to love the source of their pain, God loved us at our worst. Before we were tamed by His Word and wrestled fiercely against Him, He sent us His best. His only son poured out His life on a cross for our sake. It wasn't an attention seeking action. He didn't shed His blood just to be seen. He did it so we could rest. He gave Himself so that we wouldn't have to strive against sin and battle the heaviness of seeking Gods approval and always falling short. His blood was like a blanket of grace poured over us allowing us to relax and rest secure.
Learn to Purr.