Say It Like You Mean It

By Josiah Travis

October 19, 2018

I am absolutely in love with my son Isaiah. He is one of the most amazing and gifted human beings on the planet. (Rest assured that my opinion is completely unbiased.) He is a treasure and I get to be his dad! Isaiah is four years old and has an amazing intensity about him. Recently after a temper tantrum that could have brought the house down, he said with seriousness: "Daddy, maybe someday I could be in charge of the whole planet." I think this is probably a genuine aspiration of his four year old heart. At times it is challenging to parent a four year old who aspires to rule the planet, but the strong will inside this boy blesses me and gives me reason to dream about what his future might hold.
One of my favorite things that Isaiah has been doing recently is calling me out when I am not fully present with him. I don't know if other parents can relate, but sometimes when I am with Isaiah I am not actually with him. I am there in body and superficially there with my words, (I'll say things like "That's great buddy. Yea, Uh huh. Mmkay, Yup, Wow...") all the while my mind is elsewhere. I'm immersed in some adult problem or my face is buried in my phone. I am not truly seeing him, entering into his world, and hearing him. Isaiah, calls me out on it and I love it.
We'll be sitting together "playing" with me only partially present and in response to my superficial mumblings Isaiah will say, "No, Daddy, say it like you mean it." In other words, "Don't try to fake me out! Don't pretend like you are here when you are actually missing out on all of this, on all of me. Daddy! See the beauty we could be sharing in this moment. Don't say 'Wow, Isaiah, that's so cool.' without actually seeing and appreciating the thing that is so cool." Sometimes Isaiah will even feed me the lines. "Daddy say it like this, 'WOOOW!! Isaiah thats amazing!' " I love it! He is telling me what his young heart needs. He needs me to see him, and to be present with him. He is calling me into the beauty of the present. I hear him saying, "Daddy, I'm right here, right now. This moment is passing us by and I need you here with me in it. Don't miss it. Don't fake it. Its here for a moment and then its gone. Praise me, love me, let it be real. "Say it like you mean it!"
Can I tell you something that this has me thinking about? Time is short and there are certain connections, certain relationships that are really important. My relationship with Isaiah is one example, but I believe there is another relationship that is so important for every human being on the planet. It's our relationship with the Divine, with our Source, our Creator ... our Father. I believe we were made for this.
We can identify with Isaiah. Something tells us that we were not supposed to be playing in the sandbox of our lives by ourselves. We long to experience a Father's delight, his words of affirmation, a sense of his presence with us, to stare into his face and hear him saying "Wow! You're amazing. That is so cool!" Yet often times we feel like God is distracted, or worse, completely disinterested in us.
I want to tell you some beautiful news. I believe that regardless of your religious background, lifestyle, or choices, you have a Father in heaven who is very interested in you. He sent his Son Jesus to remind us what we mean to him, and to bring us back to himself. Jesus came to remove every obstacle that might stand in the way of us experiencing that. And there are all kinds of things that can keep us from opening up to the relationship that we need most. There are all kinds of things that keep us from the beauty that could be found in a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Will you allow me to challenge you with one thing? Time is short and there are certain connections, certain relationships that are really important. There is no time like to the present to take a step toward relationship. Through Jesus I have found my way into the arms of my Father. Sometimes it still feels like he is distant or distracted, and I find myself saying, "Jesus, say it like you mean it. Help me hear again, how much you love me." But the beautiful thing is that I think he loves it when I boldly ask him to say it like he means it.
Editor's Note: This blog and pictures were used with Josiah Travis' permission. You can read more from Josiah Travis and view his photography at https://www.josiahtravis.org/

Josiah Travis is a lover of Jesus, a husband, a father to two wonderful children, a seminary student, and also finds time to share his life with others through speaking, writing, and photography. Committed to his own healing journey, he seeks to daily position himself to see the beauty that God has placed in ordinary moments and to be fully present to these moments. ‚Äč

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