Malia never took to a pacifier, and although she sleeps with a few stuffed animals, if one were to disappear, she wouldn't even flinch. She doesn't have a "blankie," or anything like that. She uses my arm. When she is tired or upset, she comes over and rubs my arm, just between my elbow and my wrist. While this started out cute, as she gets older, it is getting less cute, and I am trying to break her of the habit. There are rare nights when she has a bad dream or can't sleep, and she doesn't wake me up, she just comes into our bed and rubs my arm till she falls back to sleep. Fortunately for me, since having children I can sleep through an explosion, so it doesn't bother me; I just wake up and she's there. If we are out shopping or running errands and she gets tired, she just touches my arm and rubs it a little bit, and I know that her shelf life has expired and she is done. It is much nicer than a screaming fit, which is Gianni's signal that it's time to go home, and everyone in Target will know it. And although Malia is one of the most self-confident kids I know, there are times that she just needs "Mommy's Arm," as she refers to it. And when she really needs it, there is no stopping her. She will grab it while I am cooking, folding laundry, or typing. I can be doing things around the house, and she is attached to me, following me around, holding on to my arm. Many times I will say, "you cannot have my arm right now," a sentence that I never thought I would say once, much less repeatedly. I have tried to shift the object of her affection to numerous other "normal" kid security objects, but it never works. There just is no substitute.
This got me to thinking about how we should be with God... always wanting in, pressing for as much "close" time as possible, accepting no substitutes. With God, like with Malia, we sometimes only go to Him when we are tired or upset, and then we demand His attention (which He lovingly gives). And it benefits us. After time with God, we are usually more relaxed and less stressed. But unlike me with Malia, He prefers that we move closer to Him more, not less. He wants us to follow after Him and be as close to Him as possible. He has all the time in the world to let us draw near to Him; it is usually us who have such "important" time constraints. I am so guilty of shoving God off my docket when I am super-busy, because I know He will always be there, but the house needs to be clean because a small group is coming over, or laundry needs to be done, or coupons need to be cut so I can get to the store. It is not fair to Him, and truthfully, it is to my disadvantage. I think that just like tithing money seems to make us more financially comfortable, even when it doesn't add up on paper, that tithing our time somehow allows us to get more done in the same amount of time. Because God's cool like that. And He will never push us away, like I do with Malia; He will always sit and let us be as close to Him as we want, for as long as we want. And THAT is a loving Father.