Have you ever had or been around one of those children that just loves to give hugs? Or crawl in your lap? Or hang on your leg, arm, or any other body part they can reach?
I have a daughter like that. We call her “the hugger.” She’s constantly jumping on my lap to curl up, or grabbing me around my waist to squeeze as tight as she can. Her favorite words are, “you’re the best!” as she holds on with every bit of strength her little body can muster.
Her hugging isn’t limited to just her family. She hugs friends, neighbors, her teachers, the school bus driver, our mail carrier, and even complete strangers. As she has gotten older we have tried to give her limits on which adults she can hug, and teach her that not everyone she meets wants the biggest hug in the whole wide world from a strange child.
Sometimes it’s hard because I will introduce her to a new friend, and her question may be, “can I give you a hug?” Since most people aren’t ogres, they generally say yes – then I get to witness their smile turn to a look of concern as my five year old refuses to let go. It’s like once she gets the green light, she can’t hold herself back anymore. Love and affection just explode out of her, and she can’t contain herself.
Most people are pretty good hearted and don’t mind it so much, but sometimes it can get distracting. For instance, let’s say you are a kindergarten teacher, you’re trying to teach a class full of five year olds about the long ‘a’ sound, and you have a curly blondstrosity attached to your leg? It can be a bit of a problem, you know?
I had a conversation with my daughter’s teacher, and in it I told her that it was ok to just peel my daughter off if it becomes a problem. I told her that her father and I have to do it every now and then when we need to do something or go somewhere and our 40-pound limpet refuses to let go.
As I was reflecting on that the other night, I was thinking to myself about how I am sometimes with God. There are some days, days when I’m really sad or discouraged, days when I think I can’t get anything right or that nothing good is coming, that I have to throw myself at Jesus. I cling to His leg, refusing to let go, and beg Him to take me with Him and hide me from everything life wants to throw at me.
On those days, I’m incredibly grateful that He doesn’t peel me off like I do my daughter. I’m thankful that He hides me under His arm, tucking me away so that no one can snatch me out from under him.
I wonder sometimes what things would be like if I didn’t just cling on the bad days. How would things change if I ran up to Jesus like my daughter does me, grabbed hold and told Him, “you’re the best!” for no reason other than I love Him and wanted to be close to Him?
I think, maybe, His reaction would stay the same. I don’t think He would peel me off because He needs to be available for more important things, or because He needs to do something that having me hanging there would cramp His style. I think He would tuck me away happy just as He tucks me away sad. The question becomes, then, how would that change me?
I’m not sure yet of the answer to that question, but I do know this. I will be hugging my daughter extra tight when she gets home from school today, and I’ll think harder about what it is I’m rushing to do when I feel the need to peel her off.