Getting Out of the Way

I watched my girl this weekend as she began grasping new ideas and learning new skills. She is so close to pulling herself up to her knees, given the chance. And she has realized that when she throws something, she just has to look over the arm of the chair to find it again. I love being witness to each new trick, each developmental leap. Ah, object permanence is such a wondrous thing!

But as I watched, I witnessed something that both amused and struck me.

Playing gleefully with her basket of toys, Fiona found a cloth book that unfolds into one long succession of “pages”. It’s a bit unwieldy for a baby when it’s all open, but she loves it anyway. Having pulled it out earlier, she found herself sitting next to the end of the book. She picked it up, but the book wouldn’t budge. She pulled and pulled on it, thinking surely she could lift it to her mouth to chew on (that’s what 7-month-old babies do, after all), but it wouldn’t work. She look plaintively at me to fix the problem, as though it was I who was keeping her from her desires. Or at the very least, I wasn’t helping fulfill them.

Unbeknownst to her, though, she was sitting on the book. Her own weight kept it grounded. I tried not to laugh as I watched her try with all her might, yet fail because she didn’t notice that she herself was the obstacle in her way.

It struck me just then, that perhaps that’s how God feels. He wants to bless us, He DOES bless us, with so many good gifts — toys if you will — but too often we complain about the struggles of life, we try with all our might to attain good things, but fail miserably again and again. And then we blame God. He’s not moving, He’s not working, He’s not giving/providing/helping/listening et al.

I wonder if we truly took stock of life, would we find it isn’t that the blessings aren’t there, but that we are getting in the way? Are we so rushed and harried that we don’t notice the sunrise? Do we over-complicate life to the extent that we can’t sit down and enjoy fellowship with friends and family? Does our striving for more, more, more impede us from seeing what we have already been given?

Perhaps I would be better off getting out of my own way rather than striving harder when life seems to be awry.

Fiona playing

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