Monday evening was a family work night at my sister and brother-in-law’s farm. Several things happened that evening that I had never anticipated….
1) My husband drove a tractor. And he liked it. Had you told me when I married him almost 11 years ago that I’d actually get to see this happen, I’d never have believed you. While I have always dreamed of farm life, it’s been the furthest thing from his mind. This picture makes me smile. 🙂
2) I drove an off-road vehicle. And I liked it. Sorry, no photo of that. But seriously, it was so fun!
We arrived at the farm with a specific purpose…we were to pick up all of the sticks and logs that littered the field and load them into the loader bucket of the tractors. And while our kids had instructions to work hard and be diligent, we also wanted them to have fun, so told them that they could explore the farmland a little bit. It was a beautiful evening, and there were many areas for a child to explore. Except one….the muddy valley smack dab in the middle of the field. I told Nadia specifically to not go near the mud.
Several minutes later, above the roar of the tractor’s engine, I heard screaming. I turned around to see that not only had Nadia gone near the mud, she was stuck up to her ankles in the murky mess. The wet earth, like quicksand, had enveloped her, and she couldn’t escape. She was terrified, and I was angry.
My one-sided conversation with her went something like this….
“I told you not to go near the mud!”
“This is why obedience is so vastly important…often times you must obey for your own safety!”
“You have this whole entire farm to explore…why did you insist on exploring where I told you not to?”
Her choice was a bad choice, and she was disciplined. But I kept thinking it through the next few days…kept thinking how much I’m like her. How often I make bad choices and choose to play in the mud instead of follow My Heavenly Father’s directions.
Just as my kids had been given a beautiful evening with a vast array of farmland to explore and play, I’ve been given a beautiful life with a vast array of blessings and gifts. Wonderful things. Encouraging things. And yet, even amidst the beauty, I often find myself wandering toward the mud pit. Wanting to dabble in something that God has not chosen to give me “permission” to play in.
And much like Nadia that evening at the farm, I walk away from the mud pit feeling remorse for my choices, and missing out on the blessings that surrounded me.
Maybe my mud pit is not the same as your mud pit. You see, a mud pit doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Were it the right time and place, it would have been so fun to let Nadia go wild in that mud. Play, have fun, get dirty…mud volleyball, anyone?! 🙂 It’s not that the mud itself was wrong…it was her choice to inch closer to it when she had been so clearly told not to. Not yet. Not now.
I would challenge you, as I’ve been challenged over the last few days, to examine what types of things you look at longingly. Is there something you want so badly that you can’t take your eyes off of it? Maybe the object of your longing is not bad in and of itself, but your determination to get it (regardless of God’s timing in your life) has become all-consuming? That’s your mud pit.
I’ve pointed out several mud pits in my life this week, and I’m praying that God will help me to take my focus off of the mud, and place it on Him. To look around the mud pit, beyond the mud pit, to all of the beauty that He has provided right where I am now.
There’s beauty surrounding us daily. Sometimes we just have to wipe the mud out of our eyes and off of our hearts in order to see it.
I stole this photo from my sister’s Facebook account. This is one of many beautiful areas on the farm. Why did the mud seem so enticing?!
I love this quote from C.S. Lewis, and I thought it was very appropriate for this blog post.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with *sin* when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”