There are many things that I love about being a dad. Many of the things that I thought I would like turned out to be true:
Wrestling. Taking naps together. The fact that it is socially acceptable to carry snacks just about everywhere you want.
A few days ago, though, I was surprised by something. It was something that I didn’t know would bring me a sense of joy I had never previously felt. We were not in the same room, my presence was not a thought in her mind. You see, my parents (her biddy and papaw) were downstairs with my wife eating breakfast while I got ready for church. Amidst lots of laughter, in the kitchen at the bottom of our stairs I heard Crosley say something:
“My daddy likes…” or “My daddy and me…”
Honestly, I have no idea what she said at the end of that sentence ( I think maybe it was that I like waffles?), but it didn’t really matter. I know that we have fun together. I know ways to make her smile. She’s still at an age where on most days she wants to be with me, to play, read stories, and whatever other random things that she decides we should do.
This was different.
As I was upstairs getting ready, I heard her say “My daddy likes…” and for a moment I smiled. But why?
It’s because in that moment I heard her explain to someone else something about her relationship with me was memorable. Even better, I think it was positive. And even though I don’t know what that thing was, there was a connection made. It made me feel good that she thought enough of me to share a fact even when I wasn’t around.
Listen. I get that she’s a toddler and that one moment she shares a fact about me and the next is about Princess Belle and in her mind they might be on equal footing. I’m not going to let that steal my joy for now.
As I thought about that moment, it hit me. This has to be how God must feel when he hears us talk about Him. Sometimes we get caught up in saying the “right” thing or talking about our faith in a way that sounds just like everyone else. We begin to think that we aren’t good enough to share, that what we say isn’t interesting, or whatever other host of lies we allow ourselves to believe that aren’t true. We hold back.
Crosley shared something true and important to her. It came out of her experiences with me, her understanding of who I am, and she wanted nothing more to share it with others.
What if sharing our faith stories came in the same way? What if instead of making sure that everything was calculated and prepared, we talked about God out of the depths of our experience with Him? What if we shared everything, even the most random thoughts, simply because we couldn’t hold back?
It made me feel good to hear her speak. I imagine that is exactly how God feels when we share (with those who identify as believers AND those that don’t ) what is happening in our lives and how we have seen Him move. I did not expect Crosley to have a well thought out, meticulously prepared statement about things that are important about our relationship. She shared what was happening then, at that moment.
This week I want to do a better job of sharing what God is doing in my life as I go about my usual day. I am firmly convinced that if we all did that more, the stories would be more interesting and they would be more real.
And through that, God smiles.