Hello. My name is Sonny and I am a momaholic. I have always been around mommy and thought she was really fun, but when I turned nine months old I became more attached to her. She used to be able to set me down or put me in the playpen and I would play nice. Now I realize that it is a prison! The newfound bars to stop me from crawling freely between rooms confirm my suspicion. Therefore, I cannot, under any circumstances, let mommy out of my sight. What if I lose her?! Do you have any idea how much I need her?! Who can blame me for screaming in withdrawal every time she puts me down? I have to follow her as fast as my knees will take me everywhere she goes. All. Day. Long. Even when I am happily playing with my toys, as soon as I realize mommy is not in the room, I wail. I really need mommy! I just don’t know how to tell her because I can’t talk yet. Every time I try it just comes out like a bowl of alphabet soup that got mixed up. Can you please help me?
If my baby could talk, I imagine she’d say something like that. If I could talk, I imagine I’d say the same to God.
I am a poor communicator. I say far too little. I say far too much. I say the right things at the wrong time. I say the wrong things most of the time. I say nothing when I need to say everything. I say everything when I ought to say nothing. I have functioned most of my life as a selective mute. I struggle daily with trust, relational intimacy, and personal prayer. No matter how much I try to engage, I feel fearful, insecure, trapped, mute, and imprisoned by my infantile frustrations. At least when I write, I can babble a little as I seek to learn my weaknesses in efforts to overcome.
I am a bona fide nerd. Sometimes I can’t even believe how backward and awkward I am in certain settings. In my quest for understanding I have, in true nerd form, made a diagram pertaining to my tendencies toward weakness and sin as it relates to communication.
Like Sonny, I feel trapped. I feel alone. I am afraid. When I can’t see God, I protest. I am insecure, needy, small, and now, keenly aware of it. Still, when He picks me up, I just babble. I go silent. I wrestle out of his arms. I am afraid to lose him. I am afraid to find him. Do you have any idea how much I need him? It is terrifying and comforting and unsettling and sanctifying all at the same time. Is it sinful fear and pride that keeps me from speaking my heart to God? To others? Is it unbelief? Distrust? The assumption that it will simply hurt too much to be honest?
I hide. I stay silent. I switch off all emotion. It simmers underneath the surface. Like a foreboding moat full of monsters, I know the fall is coming.
If I could just communicate properly with people, maybe, I think, I could communicate with God. If I could just communicate with God properly, maybe, I think, I could communicate with people. Maybe none of it is the truth.
The truth is trickier than a mere introspective evaluation. The truth is that I distinctly heard God call me into prayer this morning. The truth is that He was clear and I was able. But I did not pray much. Instead, I began to consider the reasons why prayer is so difficult on so many levels. I began to consider the reasons why communication is so difficult, why I am so unskilled at it, and what I am so afraid of.
Reason. Logic. Human understanding. Searching for those familiar friends, I called out. For an hour I called out to my favorite idol: intellect. I heard God call me into His presence to pray and I spent the hour that followed navel-gazing instead.
Daddy doesn’t settle for the silent treatment though. During the course of my reasoning, I confessed my sin to a friend. I surrendered my fear and I prayed that the Lord would pick me up. I envisioned Him holding me the way I hold Sonny despite her wildness; her unrest; her indecision; her impossible will that wrestles out of my arms only to cry to be picked up again.
I am she and she is me. I am close, though. I am closer than I have ever been before. I feel the loving presence of a Father who dotes on me daily. I hear his voice speaking softly and calling me to speak. My words are minced; meager; murmurs; but they are mine and He is musing. Be they babble or brazen, I am his baby and He hears my less than best attempts. Therefore, I rest. Though it took more tries than I might hope for tomorrow, today I prayed.