Last night was the first time in history that I sent one of our kiddos to bed without a bedtime snack. For our 4-year-old son – the one with who loves a treat – this was devastating.
The historical punishment came at the end of a long day of whining; the kind of day in which I was scrambling to satisfy everyone without much success. Dinner was a wholesome, Alice-Waters-would-be-proud meal and we were winding down toward bedtime. So, when my bedtime buffet of a big bowl of popcorn, apple slices, roasted almonds, AND chocolate coconut cookies wasn’t good enough for that sweet boy, I snapped.
Watch out, world. Momma’s mad.
If this snack isn’t good enough for you, you get no snack at all.
Up to bed with you, son.
As he trudged up the stairs, that boy cried. He was sorry in a million ways: sorry for his missed opportunity, yes, but also sorry for his disrespectful attitude. I know he loves me and feels crushed when he has done something wrong. I checked in to see how he was doing in his bedtime prep. He was bawling while brushing his teeth. (Have you ever done that? Not easy.)
Once he crawled in bed, I walked over and held him in my arms. He settled in and settled down.
Eventually, I said,
“Look, son, you cannot live your life always wanting more than what is offered to you. If you always want the sweetest dessert, the biggest gift, the best seat, the most toys, the funniest movie, and the most exciting friends, you will explode. We were not created to get the biggest and the best all of the time. Even though we feel like we want it, we will die if we live like that. Learn this while you’re young: be content with what you have. When someone gives you food, it’s good enough. Eat it gratefully.”
He nodded his adorable head.
I set our Kindle on his nightstand so he could listen to Scripture lullabies as he went to sleep. Like all of us, his longing for the biggest and best can only be filled by God. I knew these Words would renew his heart and mind.
Later, Ryan and I sat on the couch downstairs, discussing the day. I asked, “Did you get that email?” He knew exactly what I was talking about. We had both received a shocking newsletter from a blog that we’ve recently discovered. This email changed our minds about the author entirely. The content was terrible – pornography sent to our inboxes. We both admitted that the content was like a snare; we read more than we would have liked because we were trying to figure it out: we were lost in a what is this?? fog.
In short, the email contained a story from a man who is on a mission to get the best for himself: his project is to blend the best of monogamy and promiscuity. He revealed his insatiable appetite for the newest, most beautiful, youngest, most scandalous, most exciting sexual life possible.
Besides, he said, scientists have proven that monogamy is boring and not natural.
Our first impulse was to push against his conclusions and say, “Monogamy’s the awesomest! You have no idea.” We wanted to prove that it’s the best, most exciting, most beautiful experience – way better than his anything-goes clubs.
But is it?
Isn’t part of monogamy’s beauty that it’s free of superlatives? That it’s good enough?
Isn’t part of monogamy’s goodness that two humans have made a supernatural choice to be satisfied with one another?
Isn’t it that deep sigh of relief that accompanies the vow, “…and forsaking all others…”?
Isn’t monogamy a holy mix of the newness, the oldness, the beauty, the average, the exciting, the not-so-exciting moments of choosing the same person day after day after day?
Monogamy lets us stop hungering for the superlatives out there.
It helps us humbly say, “I’m content with this sweet thing at home.”
I see a beauty in monogamy that far outshines promiscuity, but it requires a strength and courage that only God can give.
I thought about my words to the little boy upstairs – who by now is sleeping peacefully – and I thought, I need to repeat this lesson for him day after day after day. I need to teach him how to say, “Thank you. I’m content with what you have given me.”
May God give each of us – me, Ryan, and the boy who will happily gobble up his warm breakfast today – the strength and courage to say those words about all things, forever. And may we turn our voracious appetites to Jesus – who will satisfy them abundantly.
“Thank you. I’m content with what you have given me.”
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
11You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.