The invitation to a secret life

“I’m not going to tell you about that.”

This is my three-year-old’s son’s new favorite answer to our questions about his day.

How was preschool?

Good.  

Did you have snack?

Yes.

What did you eat for  snack?

I’m not going to tell you about that.

Did you sing songs at preschool?

Yes.

What songs  did you sing?

I’m  not going to tell you about that.

Now, I am a complete Mom-Professional  when it comes to asking my kids about their day.  I’m no novice here.  I don’t just ask, “How was your day” and then give up when he answers, “Fine.”

I  know better than that.

My modus operandi with all my kids has been to ask very specific questions.  Hence, my questions about snack and songs.  I’ll ask who was the line leader and whether they used the slide or swings on the playground.

This has worked with all three of my daughters.  But my son has found the ultimate weapon against  Mom’s post-school interrogation:

“I’m not going to tell you about that.”

Now what’s a mom to do?

I’ve chosen not to fret over this quirky and unique stage. He tosses his little go-to non-answer at one of my questions with an impish grin.  He enjoys his conversational “checkmate” and giggles a bit.

At some point, we’ll probably move along.  Maybe we’ll even get to know what he ate for snack and what songs he sang with his classmates.

In the meantime, I relish every detail he will share with me, every snuggle when he’s decked out in his Batman pajamas before bed, every whispered, “I love you.”

These are the hidden times, what we share with our family, what we share with each other, but not what we open up to the big wide world.

Jesus had these moments, too.  He’d slip away for hidden times with God, praying all night on a mountain while his followers remained behind (Luke 6:12).

This was the ultimate quiet time.  It was private, hidden, a secret between him and God.

And maybe God invites us in to share some of these intensely personal, hidden moments with him also, just as he did for the disciples when he asked them to “come away with me to a quiet place…..” (Mark 6:31).

In fact, Jesus specifically instructs us to:

  • Give in secret: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4) 
  • Pray in secret:    “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”  (Matthew 6:6)
  • Fast in secret:  “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”  (Matthew 6:17). 

It doesn’t mean all gifts must be anonymous and all prayers offered from our prayer closet.

It does mean our faith shouldn’t be religious show—all on public display for our own glory.

It does mean that there should be a secret aspect to our faith—a just between Him and me kind of intimacy.

In  her book, A Beautiful Offering, Angela Thomas writes:

“God wants to meet  with me in secret…There are  a couple of things that really matter to Jesus in this passage.  One is the real intention of our  hearts before God, and the other is that we learn to  practice a secret life with Him”

Our “secret life”is more than giving, fasting, and praying.

It’s sitting quietly with God.

It’s tucking lessons away and pondering them in our hearts

It’s offering Him the parts of our heart that we so often hold back. It’s being honest with Him.

I don’t ask my son questions about his day because I want to pester or annoy him.  I ask because I love him and he’s still young enough for me to be all-up in what happens in his little preschool life.  (I’ll enjoy that while  it lasts!).

Jesus  also invites us into secret communion with him, not to judge us or correct us, not to redirect us or lecture us.

He invites us because He loves us.

In response, we can either toss out a hurried, “I’m not going to tell you that.”

Or we can pour out hearts to Him.  We can linger by His side.  We can laugh together at a joke. We can celebrate a victory.

 

 

 

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