Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Like a Baby in a Wrap

Have you ever worn a baby?  You should try it sometime.  It is sure to complement any outfit even better than your favorite scarf does.  I am an amateur baby-wearer.  I am still a little a lot awkward with my baby wrap.  I feel unsure of my wrap jobs, and find myself constantly touching baby's nostrils to make sure they are unobstructed.  Even though I'm still learning the ins and outs of baby-wearing, I can appreciate that there is something magical about it.

When you put a baby in a wrap you can feel that baby instantly relax.  It's like they release everything and just melt into your chest.  The wrap is my son's kryptonite.  He instantly falls asleep as soon as he's snuggled against me.  Why do babies seem to like being worn so much?  Perhaps, they get a temporary glimpse to life back in the womb.  They are warm.  They can hear your heartbeat.  If you're a breastfeeding mama they can no doubt smell your milk (which I imagine is kind of like the aroma of a batch of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the room as you drift off to sleep).  Worn babies must feel close, loved, and secure.

This Sunday, I went to church for the first time since having baby E.  In the hope that he would sleep through the service, I decided to wear him.  As I worshiped corporately for the first time in almost two months, God used the image of a soundly sleeping baby in a wrap to speak to me.  He told me that he wants me to experience him the way that my baby is experiencing being worn by me.  He wants me to listen to his heartbeat.  He wants me to know that I am secure in him.  He wants me to let go and completely rest in his arms.  God's got me like a baby in a wrap.

A Practical Step Towards Choosing Joy

Choose joy.  Be content where you're at.  Find satisfaction in the Lord.
[insert any other feel-good cliches about happiness regardless of circumstance]

I know that these things are good, and right, and true, but sometimes I need tangible steps.  I can't just grit my teeth, furl my brows, and will myself to be joyful, satisfied, content.  Recently, the Lord has given me one simple way that I can pursue being joyful in my everyday life.

The bible says:

" Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

There are many ways to interpret this verse.  One way is that we should spend time focusing on the good.  We should work to keep the script that runs through our minds pure, lovely, and excellent.  In other words, we should think about positive things.

Now, please don't take this to mean ignore all of the difficult things in your life and pretend that it's all sunshine and daisies.  Because I know that pain is real.  There is value in feeling and processing whatever it is that you are going through no matter how dark it may be.  At the same time, it seems like our flawed human brains can be magnets for negativity.  We go throughout our days experiencing a range of good, bad, wonderful and ugly things and all too often the bad stuff is what sticks.  I want to reset my mind.  I want to train my brain to collect the good and not just the bad.

One simple, practical way I have found to help myself do this is to write things down.  Each day I make a list of the good things that have happened.  If God has spoken to me that day, or I have realized any truths I will also write those down.  Is this technique earth-shattering?  Ground-breaking?  Will it change the world?  Probably not.  But it is one tangible step that I can take towards choosing joy.  It takes less than ten minutes, and it helps me to remember that there are good things going on in my life.

Here are a few items from my lists over the past few weeks:

Good things

  • Taking walks seems to be improving Maddy (my dog's) behavior
  • Emerson is making cute happy noises
  • It felt so good to serve at youth group--like getting a piece of myself back
  • I nursed at the park
  • I ran into a former student who said I was her favorite teacher
  • I walked all the way to Dutch bros with a friend
  • A friend came to visit
  • My sister and I prayed together
  • I gave Emerson a bath by myself
  • I watched a movie
  • Emerson wore his mint cardigan
  • I took dinner to a friend with a new baby and she was blessed by it
  • I got to visit the teachers and staff at my former school
  • Philip (my husband) said, "It was worth it just to spend time with you on the car ride there and back."
  • I met someone new at church
  • Emerson slept much better than he had been


  • Emerson is a gift
  • There is no such thing as a perfect decision
  • A mistake is an error not an end
  • My primary job is taking care of E:  anything else that gets done is a bonus
  • God wants such deeper things than for me to just be happy: he wants me to experience deep peace and joy
  • What I do every day is not what fulfills me, but Jesus fulfills me
  • From Psalm 21:  "For you meet him with rich blessings" and "You make him glad with the joy of your presence"
  • God said (in regards to my fears/worries), "Does that sound like me?  To want you to starve?  Or not to let you have any fun?  Or to not take care of your needs?  I am the God who abundantly provides."

So what do you say?  Will you give this technique a try?  It's something you can do even if you have a 9-5 job or a squirmy baby that demands your attention.  All you need is pen, paper, and five minutes.  Do you have any other ideas for steps to take in the pursuit of contentment?  Let's be intentional in what we allow to consume our thoughts.  Let's choose joy.

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