Beautiful truths about the “Check In.”
I send messages to a variety of individuals in any given week that just say, “Checking In.” Some of you reading this today, may have been the recipient of one such message.
As I sat to write, this evening, this is the question I asked myself: “Why do you “check-in” with people so often?”
I can be honest enough to say that I don’t have tons of time or the emotional energy it would take for me to look even a sliver beneath the surface to explore my reasoning for doing this. I will say, however, that, during this health crisis, one like I have never experienced in my life, I “check in”, and I do it a lot.
I do it with those I love. I do it with those I care about and am trying to build trust with. I even do this with those in my house, though we haven’t left our doorstep for seventeen days and counting.
“Honey, how’s it going?” I say to my ten-year-old daughter several times throughout the day. “Are you making good choices, Mr.?” I ask my seven-year-old son when he runs past me with a guilty look on his dirt-covered face. They’re all little “check-ins”, aren’t they?
A week ago, I downloaded a book for my daughter to read as a reward for cleaning her room. (And yes, she will work hard for a good book! In that way, I am blessed.) However, she came out with quite a few interesting thoughts, that she was trying to make her own, after reading that book.
Who knew the words on those pages would raise so many questions and cause so much tension! It was highly rated and was about God… come on! Words like, “Mommy, you understand me. Don’t you?” came out of my daughter’s mouth. Followed by, “I am not sure I really want to “practice Christianity” anymore. I want to be like you and Daddy, but then again, I want to “find my own path”.
God help me! This child. I smiled. I took a very slow, quiet, deep breath so she wouldn’t notice the feelings of well, you can guess all of those feelings… that rushed over me in an instant.
In my mind I was blurting out…“You’re ten! You’re going to be a Christian if I say you’re going to be a Christian! We don’t “Practice Christianity!” This is a relationship with our Creator!” and I could write a few more sentences here, based on the other religions she was “considering trying out”. I was mortified to say the least. Distraught. Deeply saddened.
I was freaking out inside. I take my daughter’s words very seriously. I smiled. I breathed. I listened as she said she didn’t know if she believed in God. I listened as she rehashed her sad feelings of her grandmother’s death not long ago. She referenced her Starka being in Heaven watching over her. That seemed to bring her peace. I had to speak up at this point, because if you know me, I just couldn’t sit quiet any longer.
With boundless grace, I asked, “If there is no God, is there a Heaven?” “If there is no Heaven, where is Starka?” Puzzled, face drawn, she shrugged her shoulders. I said, “That’s just something I would wonder if I didn’t believe in God.” Whew! That was a MAJOR check in right there! I wasn’t even expecting it. She had checked in with me!
I could have, and well, truthfully did, carry this as a heavy burden for about an hour, until I called a dear friend who told me that I should be grateful that my daughter shared these deep feelings with me that evening.
We’ve all got a lot on our minds, and I mean A LOT. Thinking straight with kids home all day every day, meal planning through online grocery shopping, concerns about friends and family’s well-being, job security, you name it, it’s on our minds as parents. Then this. These types of heavy conversations appear out of nowhere and they can seem to nearly cripple us, well, at least that’s how I feel sometimes. Like I just cannot take on another thought, especially not one like this.
For a child from hard places to become open, to share this deeply, her feelings, is called trust. What beauty I can find in this statement. What fresh perspective I offer myself when I change my thoughts about the heaviness of these rare but important conversations. My dear friend (whose name I will not divulge, but that rhymes with Men Kaxwell) really shed light on this particular situation for me in a moment when I was feeling like darkness (negativity) was crowding in.
All this to say, “Don’t stop checking in.” Check in with your friends. Check in with your extended family. Check in with your children, and probably most importantly, please don’t forget to check in with yourself. The way you think impacts the day. The way you react is connected to the way you think. Offer yourself grace. Take moments to be in nature, and really, there is not much else we can do right now, is there? Just be. This is the biggest opportunity to be present you will likely ever be afforded in your lifetime. Don’t miss out on the deeper purpose surrounding your current circumstances. With His love, He will calm all your fears.
I’ll leave you with this scripture: Zephaniah 3:17 – “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”