there's a park right near libbi's preschool. so on days where we're a little too early to pick up libbi, i stop and let laylay play. the playground is a nice break from the carseat for laney and a breath of fresh air for me before the monotony of the carpool line begins.
the first time we stopped, i thought laney would be all over that playground....climbing, jumping, running - just doing her thing. :)
but she pretty much stayed outside the perimeter.
she liked to balance on the ledge and walk up and down the boundaries of the playground.
i figured maybe she was just a little overwhelmed. seeing as she'd never been to a playground without her big sister before, maybe she just didn't know what to do? i was sure the next time we stopped she'd be more comfortable and actually play on the playground.
so we went back the next school day.....and she did the exact same thing. the second, third, even fourth time we stopped at the playground, she still wanted to walk the perimeter. i did everything i could to convince laylay of all the fun stuff just waiting for her "on the inside".... swings, slides, even a picnic table! but every time i brought her onto the woodchips to explore a new piece of equipment, she'd quickly go right back to her wooden ledge and continue with her own balancing act.
i tried so many times to get her to play that it was almost laughable. but also humbling. here i am trying to convince her to step inside the playground parameters and all she wants to do is toe the line outside of it.
and i started thinking that in my life, the playground is kind of like The Lord's plans. He tells me, "Look! I have all of these wonderful things waiting for you if you'll just follow My path for your life." yet, i still think i know best and that choosing my own path is somehow better than His. The Lord says, "stay inside My will, follow My directions, and you will be blessed." and yet i still choose to be like laylay and tiptoe around the perimeter. why do i choose to balance on the precarious instead of standing firm on His promises? even though i KNOW the safest place to be is inside the will of God, i still want to forge my own path while walking the perimeter of His.
maybe the playground was a little too big for laney. maybe it was a little too scary. maybe she wasn't used to going it alone. so she stuck with what was comfortable and chose to stand on the sidelines instead. she thought the sidewalk was fun, but what she didn't realize was all that she was missing because she wouldn't step out of her comfort zone. oftentimes the will of God is an uncomfortable place to be. but comfort is not the point of obedience, is it? how can i, in my prideful, controlling ways, tell Him, "it's okay, Lord. i've got this. i don't need to go/see/do/hear what you're asking of me. i realize Your ways are better than mine and Your plans are greater than mine. but...they're also a little bit scarier. so i'm gonna forgo all the blessings You have in store for me, because i'm choosing to take the easy road."
but i've done just that. shamefully, more than once.
sweet laney was perfectly content to walk around the playground during our time at the park. but while she may have been content, she was missing out on the joy that awaited her if she'd only step out to the other side. sometimes i'm content to do my own thing. and even though i may think i'm content, i know that i'm missing out on the true joy that awaits me if i'd only step out on faith.
you know what? i eventually convinced laylay to step off that ledge and join me on the playground. and when she finally did.... she found slides, swings, and joy in between. and she even found a little toy car on the picnic table.... just an added bonus. :)
now when we stop at the playground before picking libbi up from school, it's not just a fun break for laney. it's also a sweet reminder to me to step out on faith and trust that He knows best. I'm reminded that joy is waiting to be found at the end of obedience.
"So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust him! He keeps his agreement. He shows his love and kindness to all people who love him and obey his commands. He continues to show his love and kindness through a thousand generations"