“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” (Matthew 6:21).
“Mommy, can I get a new game on your iPad?” My three-year-old tilted her face toward me and grinned. “Please? Just one new game? A dinosaur game!”
“Hmmm, I suppose we can look for a new game, sure.” I glanced at the clock. “But it’s almost lunchtime so you can have 20 minutes on the iPad and that’s it. Okay?”
“Okay, Mommy! I promise!” She climbed onto the kitchen chair beside me and watched as I typed “free preschool dinosaur games” into the search field. We scrolled through our options.
“This one looks good.” I suggested a colorful Jurassic paint-by-number.
“No. I don’t want that one.”
“Well, how about this one? It has puzzles.”
“No, not that one. Can I look, Mommy? I want to pick one.”
“Well. . . alright.” App store shopping with a three-year-old is a painstaking process; meanwhile a stack of dirty dishes sat calling my name. I placed the iPad on the table in front of her and got up from my chair. “You can look and tell me when you see a dinosaur game you like.”
Twenty minutes later, the dishwasher hummed behind me while I sliced crusts off my daughter’s grilled cheese.
“Lunch is ready, sweetie. Time to put away the iPad.”
“But Mom!” She whipped her head around. “I didn’t pick a game yet!” Her voice squeaked and she clutched the tablet to her chest. I raised my eyebrows and looked straight at her pink face.
“I told you—20 minutes on the iPad. You chose to spend that time searching for a new game instead of playing one of the games you already have. Now close it up and wash your hands for lunch.”
“Noooooo!!!!” She burst into wails. “I wanted to play on your iPad!”
Darlin’, I know how you feel.
I get bored with the same old games, too. Games like laundry and grocery lists and wiping out the potty chair a dozen times a day. Life is steady and predictable. Every once in a while I wonder if there’s something more interesting to experience beyond my current menu.
Like my daughter, we could spend our time pursuing the next thing—whatever promises more variety, more entertainment, greater rewards and higher joy. Maybe it’s a new job. A new relationship. A new hobby, ministry, resolution or dream.
Those things might be fine. Change can be healthy.
Think of your life like an iPad. God is your operating system, then you have an app for marriage, an app for parenting, an app for work, cooking, housekeeping, friends, church, and so on. But when you get bored or restless or dissatisfied, what do you do? Look for a new app, naturally.
And here’s the danger: We can spend so much time and attention seeking what we’d rather have that we miss the opportunity to enjoy what’s already ours.
I do this.
When I dream of building a new house instead of vacuuming the one that keeps my family warm today.
When I grumble about my husband’s socks on the floor and lose sight of his loyalty, integrity, protection and love.
When I wish so hard for my kids to stay in their own beds, I grow blind to the beauty of tiny eyelids fluttering in the moonlight beside my pillow.
So you see? New apps are ok—as long as they don’t steal our appreciation of the old ones.
“Sweets, I’ll tell you what. When you finish your lunch, I’ll give you ten more minutes on the iPad before nap—but you have to play a game we already own.”
Her eyes brightened and her sniffles stopped short. “Ten minutes is a lot!”
My mouth curved to a smile. “It is, my love. So let’s make the most of it while we can.”
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