Sometimes I pray that God keeps me on a short leash. The closer He keeps me to His side and walking in step with Him the better I am, but it's as soon as I start to feel like I've got it and walk out on my own that I get distracted and fall.
As I am preparing for our son, Mason, due this October, I've been thinking a lot about how I'll keep up with both him and Laurelei. Right now, when we go to the grocery store, Laurelei knows that she must sit in the front seat and get buckled. If she obeys then she can choose a toy to play with in the store (but has to put it back before we leave). When Mason is born, we'll have to set his carseat in that seat, and I can't have Laurelei sitting in the big part of the basket with all the groceries...that's how yogurt gets opened in the store and explodes throughout the cart or grapes come flying (it's happened!).
This week I bought her this backpack that we can put her pullups and wipes in, but it also has a clip for what is essentially a leash. Laurelei calls it her monkey tail. For the past couple of days we have been practicing walking next to Mom and Dad (outside the cart, like big girls do), but she has to allow one of us to hold her "monkey tail". She has freedom to look around a few feet from us, but is not allowed to tug on the tail or she has to get back in the cart.
In thinking about myself as Laurelei with her backpack and God as the parent holding the leash...I am reminded again of how I must seem to God. She walks beside me, in step with me most of the time, but every now and then she will get distracted. Give her a cup full of goldfish and she starts to lag behind...I have to constantly be pushing her to stay up with me. If I stop to look at something, she'll look too and start to see just how long her rope is...she gets interested in something and is all of a sudden running and pulling on the rope. A couple of times she has tugged so hard that she fell (not too hard though, don't worry), but with the "monkey tail" in my hand, she is always in my sights and easy to reel back in...
this is right where I want to be with God. It stinks sometimes when He does it...particularly right now He is really working on some things in the area of relationships and literally I have a short rope to interact with most people other than the core group that He has placed around me. It's tough, but it requires me to go back to Him...Reset - Refocus - Refuel...and then I'm off for a short leash walk again.
The closer tethered we allow ourselves to be with God, the less likely we are to encounter the depraived abilities of our quite ugly humanity...and sometimes I think God allows us to see just that so that we will tighten our tether.