Mar 10, 2019 • Written by Becky Kopitzke
Lies About Loving Others: “I’m Just Busy, Not Neglectful”
On an hourly basis I probably check my phone a dozen times or more. Email, texts, weather, photos, Facebook, Instagram, Voxer, Lord help me!—these are the weeds that vie for my attention at the same time my children are flipping cartwheels in the grass.
Technology itself is not the devil. I firmly believe Christians have a responsibility to use it for good. But as a work-from-home mom, it’s dangerously easy to let work time leak into family time. And then I start looking at my loved ones as the distraction, rather than the other way around.
Fact is, it’s impossible to bless someone you’re ignoring. When we get distracted by external demands, we lose sight of opportunities all around us. Mobile devices aren’t the only culprits. Distractions come in the form of stress, deadlines, overscheduled calendars, worries, fears, and so much more. Together these can breed a groundcover that hinders healthy shoots of perspective from poking through.
Until God slaps a hoe in the soil and tears those weeds out all at once. It looks kind of like this.
I sat at the family dinner table on an ordinary Monday night, cutting a pork chop and listening to my five-year-old rattle off her favorite activities of the day—recess, snack time, blowing bubbles in the yard.
Just then I reached for a forkful of rice and heard it—a strangled, guttural sound coming from across the table. My head jerked up, and in an instant I realized.
My eight-year-old daughter was choking.
In a single motion, my husband leapt from his chair, lifted our daughter over his forearm, and slapped a hand to her back. Praise God, the obstruction dislodged from her throat, and she spit it onto the table. I wrapped my arms around her and didn’t let go.
In moments like that, a mom realizes what she has. And what she could lose.
“Are you okay?” I held my daughter’s face in both hands and searched straight into her eyes.
“Yes, Momma,” she whispered and nodded.
“Well, I guess we’re not having those pork chops again!” My husband attempted to lighten the mood. But I knew it freaked him out, too. Our daughter sat on my lap for the remainder of the meal, although neither of us was hungry anymore.
The choking incident itself lasted a matter of probably seven seconds, but in my panic mode, I experienced the whole ordeal in slow motion. Then the adrenaline rushed throughout my body, and I fought back tears.
Suddenly, I saw my daughter with fresh eyes.
Not as the girl I scolded two minutes earlier for poking her sister with a spoon.
Not as the child who would waste a perfectly good plate of vegetables, then ask for ice cream.
Not as the kid whose homework drains a portion of my dwindling energy night after night.
Again she was my gift. It was like the scales sloughed off my eyes, and for the rest of the evening and all the next day, whenever I looked at my daughter, I saw her more clearly for who she really is—a treasured possession on loan from God. And I shuddered to remember He has the right to take her away at any moment.
The question is—how am I spending the moments He gives me?
With my eyeballs glued to a screen? With my head swimming through to-do lists so that I’m physically present but mentally in a different galaxy?
It shouldn’t take a life-or-death incident for us to realize how much our loved ones mean to us.
Every moment—every breath—is on loan from heaven. It’s a gift. I want to live and love and soak my gifts up well. Do you? It’s a holy shame, all the energy I’ve wasted whining about deadlines, iPods, laundry and math homework—carpool traffic, airfare expenses, my husband’s socks on the floor. Why are these the thoughts that captivate my soul?
We were meant to awed by so much more.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you. (Romans 12:2, TLB)
So let’s spend today cherishing our people well, amen? Whatever busy work you had planned, will you toss it aside for a minute and hug your children tight? Tell your husband he’s your hero. Call your best friend just to hear her voice. Because none of the other junk matters compared to them, compared to the God who created them and placed them in our sphere.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
Right now, this moment, is an opportunity. God invites us to love the people around us while we have the chance. And that is quite possibly the one choice in this busy life we will never, ever regret.
This post is an excerpt from Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living “Others First” by Becky Kopitzke. Used by permission from Bethany House Publishers.
Link to the book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RVbKXJ