He sat there. Unsmiling. Immobilized. Quiet. Usually, he was racing around from room to room, feet flying, laughing hysterically. This time, as he sat in the walker, he didn’t move at all. He just stared at all of the toys on the tray. This is odd; I thought as I picked up one thing after another to entice him to play.
I picked him up and laid him down on his newly updated playmat with toys hanging from every loop and again, nothing. I swatted a few gently, but either he was completely uninterested, or he hated all of the toys I had gotten. As a new mom of a three-month-old, I thought I had done everything right. The toys were brightly colored, interesting patterns, made various sounds and had lots of different textures. Maybe he’s sick; I worried as I felt his forehead.
The silence was so distressing because the boy was always so active. That was why he was even in the walker, to begin with. I had collapsed it so that his tiny legs would reach the floor. He was already standing and trying to walk. I didn’t want him to put too much weight on his legs, so I set up the walker because all he wanted to do was move. Until now, I had left the walker tray empty and thought it was a great time to put on the toy attachment. I had done the same with his floor gym – hanging toys from each hook for him to play with. But he didn’t move.
I was baffled.
Mom rounded the corner from her room, and I asked her what she thought. I swung the toys – still no movement. I picked him up and put him back in the walker – still no movement. She laughed out loud. He has too many choices, Heather. Take away some of the choices. I tried to argue, explaining the wonderful educational nature of each. But, as she removed toy after toy – he began to relax. She left only one on the tray. Finally, the boy lit up and began to play.
Learning From The Past
I thought about that the other day as I sat immobilized. There were so many choices to make – so many directions to choose from. I didn’t know what to do. I needed to clear my head, my space, my brain from the paralyzing preponderance of possibilities. I needed to declutter my path, but I didn’t know where to start. Just do the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. My mom used to tell me that when I was overwhelmed with the number of things I needed to do. She’d write a list and do the next thing. Each time she finished a task, she’d cross it off the list until there was nothing left. The toy tray would be clear, and we could focus.
What Can We Do?
The bible gives us a myriad of examples of overwhelmed people – from Job to Jesus – Jonah to David – Isaiah to Paul. Some ran. Some rested. All prayed. Jesus often took time away from the people and the noise to pray. David cried out to God. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy Psalm 61:2–3
Sometimes the only way through is to clear a path to clarity, and there is no better clarity than Christ. We can physically remove the distractions from our lives. We can pray for God to close the doors He doesn’t want us to go through, and we can ask for His divine guidance. I can think of no better course of action than to do the first thing on the list – and that should always start with God.