The dark brown eyes are begging me, his growing little boy face grinning and his dirty hands grabbing at my arm.
“Mommy come play with us!”
“Mommy come dance with us!”
“Mommy chase me!”
The words are different but the meaning is the same. These words are an invitation. Why is it an invitation that I find so hard to accept?
My hands grip the dish towel and my eyes dart towards the dirty dishes littering the sticky counter. My husband is the fun one, I think. He’s better at playing with them.
“Go ask Daddy.” I find myself saying. “Mommy needs to clean up.” Sometimes it’s folding the laundry or paperwork or writing. The excuses are varied, and they pull at my mind like insistent little fingers vying for my attention.
A part of me is sighing and saying, “Not again. I’m so tired and I don’t feel like it.” But today there’s something niggling in my spirit, quietly speaking to me. I follow the strand to see where it connects and there it is. Underneath all of the invitations, the ones from my child and my husband, and my friends . . . underneath all of these, I’m starting to believe, is His invitation.
He is asking me. He is inviting me. But I have to enter in.
It’s not easy. Perhaps it should be, but my head fills with all of the things I “should” be doing. All the reasons why someone else is better suited. All the reasons why I “can’t.”
But now . . . now I am starting to hear His whisper. To let all of those things, reasons, excuses go. Because if I want to have joy, walk in joy, then I need to be present. I need to enter into it.
I need to enter into the silliness. Into the laughter. Into the frolicking. Into the joy.
I need to say “Yes” to it.
I need to take action and move. One step forward. One song, one dance, one tickle fest at a time.
Maybe for you it’s “Come on this trip with us!” or “Take a break and come sit with me!” or “Play this game with us!”
The invitation comes in many forms, dressed in play clothes, work clothes, going out clothes. As little children, family, friends, co-workers, and church members. But each time, the invitation is extended, it is an opportunity to choose to enter into joy.
The question really is, will we accept it?
I hope that for me the answer will be yes more often than no.
Sometimes it seems like such a big thing. A hard thing. It feels like having to overcome the inertia and scale the wall that seems to be holding us back.
It is one small choice.
And I know that you can, we can all make that choice. Maybe not every time, but maybe this time. Maybe this time, you can look into his smiling face and beautiful eyes and say yes.
“Yes, I will play with you.”
“Yes, I will dance with you.”
“Yes, I will chase you.”
Last night, I said yes. And he chased me around the loft, giggling with glee, trying to “get me” with a dirty diaper, and I laughed harder than I have in months. And the sound of his little boy laughter in that moment is stored up like treasure in my heart.
Saying yes did more good for me than it did for him. Saying yes to the invitation brought lightness, refreshment, and healing to my soul. It gave me a glimpse of the way God delights in me.
So look for the invitations and when you can, enter into the joy.
Into His joy.