The Velveteen Rabbit, the Runaway Bunny, and the Gospel

This week has been a “blah” week for me. The kind of week where you feel like you are not doing well at anything, where you have a bad attitude for no reason which in turn makes you feel worse because you realize how ungrateful you are – the kind of week where you have to be extra careful not to take out that crummy kind of feeling on your children. I posted a poem earlier this week on the SCM Facebook page that hit me where I was this week and I was amazed at the massive amount of responses I received – I think it was the most feedback I’ve ever received on a post. If you missed it, here’s the poem:

“Give me patience when little hands
Tug at me with ceaseless, small demands.
Give me gentle words and smiling eyes
To keep my lips from hasty, sharp replies.
Let not fatigue, confusion, or noise
Obscure my vision of life’s fleeting joys.
So when in years to come my house is still
Beautiful memories its rooms may fill.” – Unknown

The great number of “likes,” “comments,” and “shares” on this poem just reinforced that we are all so frustrated with ourselves – with our lack of patience, lack of gentleness, and lack of energy/stamina. Another mom I met for a playdate this week was explaining to me how she was feeling extra frustrated, overwhelmed, and “blah” and she really had no reason to be (I know the feeling!) I’ve been reading two Easter/spring books to Shaan over the last few weeks and today the books beautifully touched my heart with the gospel message (and these are not even “Christian” books). I wanted to share what I have learned (or rather, been reminded) from “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “The Runaway Bunny” this week.

Lesson from “The Velveteen Rabbit” - We are not “REAL”….yet…

If you don’t know the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, it’s the story of a toy bunny who was loved enough by a little boy that he was turned into a real bunny. From our board book: “Wasn’t I Real before?” asked the Rabbit. “You were Real to the Boy,” the Fairy said. “Now you shall be Real to everyone.”

Part of my problem is that I “feel” real. Christ knows my heart and my desires to follow His will, but then I rear my ugly head and show people that I am not “real” yet. I am in the process of being sanctified, and I am not “real” to everyone, though I do feel “real” to Christ. The beauty of it all is that Christ has loved me (and you) enough to be “real” and we WILL be “real” one day:

“Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” – 1 John 3:2

We are already God’s children. We are already loved. But, we are merely a stuffed (though well-loved) bunny being compared to a live bunny. We are not yet real…

And do you know what the Enemy likes to do? He likes to make us feel condemned and guilty about our current state of “not-real-yet.” When we don’t measure up, he likes to make us feel guilty. He likes to rob us of grace. Because if he can rob us of our grace, we forget the gospel. We warp it. We keep trying to pull the law back into it, and when we do that, we show warped grace to others. Instead of showing grace to our kids, we try to get them to measure up to standards we can’t keep ourselves. We show less grace to others when we don’t feel the effects of grace ourselves. Remember:

“So there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1 

Any condemnation you (or I) feel is from the Enemy. Remember that. And remember what grace is:

“Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit…grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human demerit. ” – C. Samuel Storms

If you were supposed to “measure up,” it wouldn’t be grace. That’s what makes grace so amazing. Do not let the Enemy tell you otherwise.

Summary of Lesson 1: Relax. It’s okay NOT to be “Real” yet. We are still well-loved and we will be Real (one day). But we don’t have to feel bad for not being Real yet. The boy loved the bunny just as much when he was stuffed as he did when he was Real. So it is with Christ. After all, it was the Boy who made the bunny Real (and nothing that the bunny did). So it is with Christ as well.

Moving on to the next book…

Lesson from “The Runaway Bunny” – God will always chase after us, but life works best when we just rest in being His child

The story of “The Runaway Bunny” is the story of a bunny who runs away, but whose mother chases after him because he is her “little bunny.” The bunny becomes all different sorts of things (a fish, a rock on a mountain, a crocus in a hidden garden, a bird, and so on), but the mother becomes different things as well in order to find him (a fisherman, a mountain climber, a gardener, a tree, and so on). At the end of the story, the little bunny finally says, “Shucks – I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.” And so he did, and the mother said, “Have a carrot.”

Isn’t that just like all of us? We run away from God – we try to do all sorts of different things to “avoid” Him – we busy ourselves with “good works,” we rebel and give up caring about “behaving,” we watch TV, surf the web, hang out with friends – but we don’t meet God face to face. Until he chases after us so much that we finally say, “Ok God. I get it – I might just as well stop doing all this other stuff and running from you and just be Your child.” And God says, “Have a carrot.” Or (in non-bunny terms), “here’s your grace. You’ve been running and running from me and you don’t deserve your carrot, but that’s the point. You get the carrot because I love you. You get grace simply for being my child.”

“The Lord appeared to him from afar saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.'” – Jeremiah 31:3

See, the Enemy makes us forget that. The Enemy wants us to forget how much God loves us and chases us because we are drawn by lovingkindness.  

This week I forgot how much I was loved. I forgot about being His bunny. I am a bunny that runs and runs and runs from God, yet He still mercifully offers His carrot – His grace – to me even when, in spite of, and because I don’t deserve it. 

I am a bunny that is called not just to seek His grace when I have failed miserably (which is every day!), but to LIVE in grace – to live by His grace because I HAVE to. I am not “Real” yet.

Summary from Lesson 2: I am loved regardless of what I do. I am still his “little bunny.” I am loved simply for being His “little bunny.”

You are too.

Don’t let the Enemy tell you otherwise. Take the carrot – it’s free. Bask in its deliciousness. Bask in the One who loves you enough to give it to you and to make you “Real.” Give yourself some grace.

And give the carrot to your kids too – because you love them and want to chase after their hearts as the Father chases after Yours.

“This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

 

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