My three-year-old snuggled beside me in the overstuffed family room chair, eyelids drooping. She stretched her mouth, drew a long breath of air, then exhaled a sleepy, guttural sigh.
“Was that a yawn?” I turned my face to hers and smiled.
“Yes, it was. I heard you yawn. It must be time for bed.”
“No, it wasn’t a yawn.”
“What was it, then?”
My husband chuckled. “Silly, that was not a hiccup,” he said. “You’re tired. Come on, let’s brush teeth and tuck you into bed.”
“No, Daddy! I’m watching Dora! I just had a hiccup.” She yawned again.
“Say night-night to Dora. You’re going to bed.” My husband scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bathroom sink.
Kids are funny. My girls think they invented bluffing, but I’m so onto them—because I can play that trick, too.
When I want to hide my weaknesses, I simply rename them.
I’m not anxious. I’m productive.
I’m not impatient. I’m punctual.
I’m not judgmental. I just hold people to a high standard.
It’s not a yawn! It’s a hiccup!
I tell myself this because, like my daughter, I don’t want to face what a yawn might mean. You, too?
“Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within,” (Psalm 51:6, HCSB).
God wants us to be honest with ourselves. We might fool the people around us, and we might even fool our own ego for a while, but we can never fool God. He made us. He knows our issues before we do.
And yet he loves us.
Sound familiar? It should. As parents, we’re experts at loving imperfect people—our kids. I knew my daughter was flat-out fibbing about that yawn, yet I didn’t scold her for it. I didn’t love her less. If anything, her little “hiccup” endeared her to me even more.
And so it goes with God. He doesn’t condemn us for our inner struggles. He wants to guide us through them—even as we spend a lifetime trying to figure ourselves out.
“Good night, sweetheart.” I leaned over my daughter’s toddler bed and kissed her cheek. “I hope your hiccups are gone now.”
“Yeees.” Her voice stretched with another yawn. She smacked her lips and shut her eyes. “I’m tired.”
“I know you are,” I whispered. “Sleep tight. Jesus loves you.”