I’m the three-year-old in the grocery store; God’s the parent

I love my kids.

 I really do. 

However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t drive me crazy sometimes. 

One of the craziest times is bedtime. In our house, it consists of brushing teeth, use the bathroom, sleep attire, puffers, nasal sprays, tuck-ins, reading, songs, and prayer.

All the while, you’re trying not to wake the ones who have fallen asleep. That’s the real trick. I believe that parents who can consistently and successfully get a child to sleep within 10mins should get an honorary Doctorate. 

Can I get an Amen on that!

It always seems it’s right before bed that they mention the homework that they have to do or the book that needs to be read and returned.

Do they not know that it’s bedtime! 

Do they not understand that if they do not go to bed that very minute it will be meltdown city! That the next day will consist of tears, screams, fists, and turmoil.

To no avail, seldom do they listen. Kids rarely understand the consequences. Continually we try. Why? Because we love them. We know that to neglect them would be a worse fate than to do our best. 

Or how about those moments when you’re in the store and your child… I mean your friend’s child (we know yours is perfect) starts flipping out in the aisle because they want the fluffety puffety marshmallows and you said no. Suddenly, it’s as if you have stripped them of everything dear in life and they must scream, shout, kick, grab with all their might, so the universe knows and yields to their beck and call!

Yet, we love them.

I believe this is why the Scriptures speak of God as Father. Jesus actually teaches us that the relationship we have with God is so much more intimate than the term father. Jesus and the Apostle Paul use the word “Abba” (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Gal 4:6), which means Daddy. It speaks of an intimate relationship. Not God afar, but a God who draws us close.

When I’m candid with myself, I’m the three-year-old in the grocery store demanding Marshmallows; God’s the parent. Too often, we travel through life only looking for fulfillment. We pray and expect God, like any good vending machine, will give us what we want. We’re like the little girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory singing

“I want a feast
I want a bean feast
Cream buns and doughnuts
And fruitcake with no nuts
So good you could go nuts
No, now”

I Want It Now

Sometimes we get what we want out of our free will. There are other times, because of the love of God, where our wish is at a distance from us.

Just because you ask, doesn’t mean you should get it. 

I am the child in the relationship who wants and needs–cries and screams. I fight when something good, but something I don’t want, is demanded of me.

Though I know, I still fight it. I fight my heavenly father because I think I know best. I know best as my four-year-old knows best–not at all.

My Prayer:

Lord, I need help. I don’t know what I’m doing, though I pretend I do. Help me to heed your words and follow your instructions. Most importantly help my heart to be soft, so I continually see you for as the loving Dad you are. You are my peace and my hope.

Amen

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Reclaiming our wild-eyed courage.

If you were anything like me as a child, you had loads of courage. I remember at four-years-old climbing a large wooden structure that stood about two stories tall on a raft and jumping into the water. There were crashes on bikes and daring feats from trees and large rocks. Even though they often eventually ended in crashes and tears, I never once thought I should stop trying adventurous things.

I don’t know when it changed, but there was a point when something did. For some reason, reason took over. 

When I was ten, my friends and I would ride our bikes down a hill that we affectionately called, “Devil’s Hill,” which had a fallen tree covered with dirt that created a ramp. We would ride full tilt down the hill and fly–and I mean fly–landing roughly on the windy, rocky, root sewn path. One of the times I went down, I peddled as hard as I could. As I sailed through the air, it felt that my bravery was rewarded. Unbeknownst to me, when I landed my handlebars twist just enough to be dangerous, but not notify my ten-year-old brain to any problem. As I turned my handlebars, thinking I was straightening them, I turned the bars, aiming and hitting a rock just big enough to stop my front wheel. 

What proceeded next looked an awful lot like the Tazmanian Devil’s dust swirl mixed with tears, a little blood, and ten-year-old pre-pubescent screams.

The next day I went and did it again.

Somewhere along the way timidity, trepidation, and fear set into us.

We never plan for it. Responsibility, maybe you might call it maturity eventually takes over. However, I believe a lot of us have lost our courage.

I like what Jordan Peterson writes about our fleeting courage,

“Something is out there in the woods. You know that with certainty. But often it’s only a squirrel. If you refuse to look, however, then it’s a dragon, and you’re no knight: You’re a mouse confronting a lion; a rabbit paralyzed by the gaze of a wolf.” 

We grow up, and we allow fear to dictate our path. When rarely if ever risk the oceans of discovery. We stop chasing dreams, we avoid painful decisions, and we look for the path of least resistance. 

But aren’t experiences worth the tumble? The stories and lessons serve as valuable memories that help you for the next adventure.

We don’t risk enough. 

What if James, John, and Matthew said no to following Jesus?

What if Peter hadn’t stood up in front of the crowd and proclaimed the Good News of Christ (Acts 2)?

What if the Apostle Paul hadn’t risked life and limb to spread Christ’s Kingdom through the Roman Empire?

They all took a risk. Anyone we have known as significant has. 

We need to tap back into the wild-eyed childhood bravado. With adult wisdom and a childlike fearlessness, how would our lives and the world be changed for the better?

Yes, it’s scary to step up and out, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. As Tolkien writes,

“Adventure can be scary and unpredictable, but the more you continue in it, the more you lose that sense of fear and doubt (and the less you care about being late for dinner). You begin to gather up your internal resources with confidence.” 

We need to readopt a sense of adventure. As we courageously step out in the small things, it allows us to step into the unknown a little further each time the easier it becomes.

It’s time to think like a child again.

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