With one little push, all we've carefully arranged and aligned topples down, as if methodically. What took a long time to put together can be undone in seconds. Have you felt that?
I was feeling this domino effect recently and I was beyond frustrated. Little things add up to big things, in the good and the bad, and can either make us lose our shape or help us back into it, depending on the things. Playing dominoes with Tegan was all it took for me to realize the climate of my heart.
I love to spend time with my son...when I don't let the pressures of other things get in the way. He's a fun kid -- such a chatter box! But dominoes...eek. Such tedious-to-my-brain play, but that's what he wanted to do. So I began by taking a big slow breath in and smiling that same breath slowly back out! He was thrilled and he had "awwwwesomme ideas, mom"!
I held it together amazingly well (if I may say so myself!) the first eight times he or I accidentally knocked over the line up prematurely. In those moments, I cheered myself through: This is for Tegan. Breathe slow. It's okay. Keep this fun. We had a couple successful runs. Dominoes are pretty cool, but it's a ton of work for very little pay off, you know! Still, he was delighted and that's what mattered! After those couple of good runs, I found my patience completely spent. One more time and I might really blow my top! He was so disappointed, but no amount of cheering was going to help.
Walking away was the right thing to do, but the mounting feeling of frustration reached boiling point as the night went on. Problems, demands, puppies who are naughty, sibling squabbles, tension with the spouse. On and on and on it went. I felt trapped on a table of toppling dominoes, desperate to just be alone and still.
Playing dominoes hadn't been the problem. Home life troubles and demands hadn't been the problem. The condition of my heart was the problem. I had been neglecting to see to my spiritual and emotional well being. I had been neglecting to feed my soul. In true domino effect, here I was at the end of the line, having tried so hard to do life in my own strength, with mounting demands on the horizon ahead, feeling like everything was toppling on top of me.
Let's pause: To be ever praising, we must be dwelling where God's presence is. For me to feel the lightness and joy of praise, I must be dwelling with God. I must be seeing to my spiritual need of feasting on His Word, drawing from His strength, enjoying His fellowship, holding still and listening to Him. DWELLING IN HIM.
The domino effect from the life of someone who dwells with God is far more reaching, satisfying and purposeful than the one lived outside of Him. My steps to dwell with Him now, effect my living later on. It's all connected.
Let's be careful to see to the condition of our hearts in such a way that we have a God-sized domino effect in our living. Our life of praise will naturally effect those around us in a way that pulls them inside of God too.
If things are toppling down today, take a minute to check the climate of your heart and become willing to step back inside the dwelling of God.