One of the only baby items I still own is a Graco Pack n Play. It folds up nicely into itself for easy storage. Ours has traveled on many airplanes all over the country. It was one of those baby gifts I received when I was pregnant with Ace over 7 years ago that I still pull out and use when we have visitors with little ones.
This week we had some friends stay at our house. They have a 2 year old. So, I hauled out the Pack n Play again from the garage.
When you open the Pack n Play there’s this curiously bold message from the manufacturer right there in the center of the mattress. It reads,
And wouldn’t you know it that every time I open the Pack n Play, my first impulse is to push down that center handle, just like the message tells me NOT to do. When I forget to heed the warning, and instead push the center down first, the rails just won’t lock. All my efforts are in vain and I end up cursing and sweating because I didn’t do the correct thing first.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the moms and dads that tested the prototype for Graco’s Pack n Play first tried to push down that center rail too. So the manufacturers printed the warning right there in the center, right in our line of vision. “STOP!”
The very word, STOP implies that whatever efforts I’m exuding are fruitless. “STOP what you are doing” it says. STOP and reorder your behavior.
So often I try and tackle my day in an ineffectual order. From the moment my eyes adjust to the morning light and my brain tells me it’s time to start again, there’s a way to make the day flow with order.
If I begin correctly, it can be a day full of grace and humor and my actions and words can be infused with wisdom and clarity. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” In essence this verse is saying, “STOP. Do not push this center down until all four rails are locked.”
I’m working my way through the Psalms this summer. One or two each day. And I am finding what many wiser people before have said but you have to experience to believe: that starting my day by reading the ancient, inspired texts of scripture positions me for a rich, beautiful day. I don’t mean a perfect day—that’s only going to happen if I’m on a yacht in the Mediterranean. No, perfect isn’t what I need for everyday mom life, just grace. Lots of grace and a sense of companionship with God. No other endeavor reanimates this relationship like the scriptures. They linger with me all day, like a great conversation with a friend, and alter me in the most trying moments.
Tomorrow, start your day with a STOP. Stop before you get out of bed. Reach for that Bible laying somewhere nearby. Hear from God before your mind downloads any other information. See if that reordering of your behavior doesn’t alter you in all the ways you long for.