“Jesus just asked me if I like my presents!”
Startled, I looked at my 4-year-old son who had been quietly and intently playing with his Legos (which were a Christmas gift) before uttering this exclamation.
“What?” I said, “Jesus asked you that?”
“Wow. How did you hear Him say it?”
With a look of 4-year-old pity, he turned to me and replied, “He said it to my brain, silly!”
Of course. Silly me.
“That is so amazing, buddy. How special that you heard Jesus talk to you! Did you answer Him?”
“Yep. I told Him I like allll my Christmas presents.”
I really don’t doubt that my kid is hearing the voice of God. It’s utter simplicity to him. He doesn’t have any preconceived ideas or misconceptions. If a (good) thought fills his mind that he knows is not from himself, he knows it’s Jesus. Shouldn’t it just be that simple? But that’s another lesson for another time…
After having this conversation with my son, I got a little teary-eyed. Life has become so complicated for me. I’ve been in this state of constant wrestling: fighting for vision, fighting for direction, working through pain, and urgently, desperately seeking God for clarity and wisdom for the complicated “grown-up” things of life. And all of that is important, but…
I think I forgot that Jesus cares about the little stuff. Like if I like my Christmas presents.
I think I even put Him in this box that says, “when talking to Jesus, only the serious stuff matters.” I’ve grown to think that anything little, like telling Him how much I love my cozy new throw blanket, is just silly.
And maybe it is. But when did He ever say He doesn’t like the silly things, too? When did He say not to invite Him into every detail? Quite the opposite, really…look:
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23, NLT
That’s the BIG STUFF (directing our steps) and the LITTLE STUFF (delighting in every detail. Every little one).
And if you ask me, that’s pretty stinking awesome, and suddenly makes me want to curl up in the aforementioned throw blanket and tell Him all the little things.
And I think that revelation will speak to some of you. I think some of you needed to hear that.
But there’s more to this story. Who knew that Jesus speaking to my 4-year-old could turn into Him profoundly speaking to me, too?
A couple of weeks after this conversation with my son, I was at a retreat in a cabin in the woods with some incredible women of God. One of these women – Dorothea (she’s awesome. Seriously. She knows the Bible and is an amazing writer & teacher. Go check out her website here.) – taught a workshop titled “Preparing a Message,” in which she walked us through ten guidelines for preparing for a teaching/preaching opportunity.
It was so good.
All of it.
But near the end she hit on this point in our notes:
“Realize that what God does through you is His pleasure – He gets great delight and joy to see you walking in and using the gifts He thought about, prepared, and gave you! (Think about Christmas)”
Think about Christmas.
These were her exact words: Think about Christmas.
“Do you like your presents?”
I lost it. Completely. I’m not sure what everyone was thinking as the tears streamed down my face, but I just couldn’t help it.
Over and over again in my head, I just heard the question repeat: “Do you like your presents? Do you like your presents?”
Yes, I think this was about letting Him into the conversations about the little stuff, about opening my heart to Him even in the seemingly insignificant things.
But it was also about this:
My Father in heaven has given me some gifts that He thought about and prepared with my joy in mind. He specifically and strategically designed me to be strong in and to take delight in the things He wove into my very being. Like Paul said in Galatians, “…before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.” Galatians 1:15, NLT
The same is true for you. The same is true for me. Before we were even born, our God chose us and He gave us a calling.
Before you were even a twinkle in your mother’s eye, the Lord was preparing a gift for you. He was designing it and wrapping it up and putting intricately thought-through nuances in it for the very delight of you discovering it, unwrapping it, walking by His side fully and joyfully into it, and using it to share the Good News of Jesus with this broken world in your own unique way.
1 Corinthians 12:4 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.”
Your gifting is the area where God has supernaturally empowered you to help other people. And I think maybe sometimes…sometimes God stops us in our tracks, helps us to look at these amazing gifts He has given us, and asks, “Do you like your presents?”
Maybe you’re a mom who is down in the trenches with little people, but God has really gifted you in discipleship, and you’re seeing the fruit of it coming out in a mini-human right in front of you. God is saying, “Hey look. Do you like your presents?”
Maybe you’re a writer and you’ve been tirelessly studying the Word and writing behind-the-scenes and in the dark, faithfully stewarding the trust, and even though you didn’t think anyone was watching, someone out there suddenly resonates with something you’ve said and tells you that it’s changed their life. You look at your hands, and joy fills your heart, and God says to you, “Hey, do you like your presents?”
Or maybe you’re stuck and you’re confused and you’re wondering if the gifts God placed on your life are actually there, but then you have a little opportunity to use them for a moment, and light comes rushing back into your soul as God whispers, “Oh yeah. Remember that? Do you like your presents?”
And as you answer this question with a great big YES and a smile on your face, your delight delights God, who literally rejoices over you with singing! (see Zeph. 3:17)
Stop doubting, my friends. Your gifts are real and they are glorious. The Holy Spirit is eagerly waiting to infuse them with His strength and to take you to all the dark corners of the world that desperately need the gifts on your life. He can’t wait to walk you and your YES into these desperate places and work with you as you bring light, multiplication, strength, healing, and encouragement…
OH, to think that He is readying us for a return of joy as He reminds us who we are with this wonderful little question: “Do you like your presents?”
I don’t know about you, but as I walk in the raw reality of life and face the challenges of the everyday, it is so easy for me to get covered up in discouragement and to forget that God’s hand is on my life. But it is. And I ought to be rejoicing every single day that I have been chosen and I have been called, and that this calling cannot be revoked.
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29, NKJV
I love how The Passion Translation says this, too: “And when God chooses someone and graciously imparts gifts to him, they are never rescinded.”
I could go deep into theology right now about the ways that we can forfeit our gifts, but you know what? Today, I just know that whoever is on the other side of this screen just needed encouragement today, not a warning. You’re not telling God you don’t like your gifts. You’re not wishing you had someone else’s. You’ve been working so hard to be good and to do good, to cultivate your gifts in the unseen places, to serve people, to pursue God, and to live a life of holiness, and the joy of what God has placed inside of you has been a little forgotten, a little bit pushed away by the constant wrestling.
So today, I hope, I believe, that God is using the gift that He has given me to put some hope and some fresh wind back into your sails. And with a smile on my face, He’s asking me as I write, “Oh baby girl (He knows I like being called “baby girl), do you like your presents?”
Oh Jesus…yes. Yes, I really do. Thank you so so much for giving them to me.