“But I WANT it!” Eyes of disbelief, and a bit of a screech in the tone…this is the response from my charming little people – at least a handful of times a day – after I’ve delivered the crushing “No.”
You too, mama?
Mystifying as it is for our little ones, this necessary loss of innocence occurs as the reality sets in that the world and others actually do not bend to their whims.
Those of us who have circled the sun a few times know that sometimes the answer is “No.” Sometimes we can’t have what we want. Sometimes things don’t go our way. Sometimes we have to wait.
But who likes it?
Every loving parent will gently teach that wanting does not necessitate receiving, even as our own mama hearts tremor with their secret unfulfilled longings and the “No’s” of life that ache down deep.
And how in the world do we teach them that the things we want aren’t always the things we need. How do we teach ourselves? How impossible when my own soul claws for the things that I just want – the night’s sleep, to be left alone in the bathroom, to just have a night out without someone spiking a fever on our way out the door. How often I hear from my own heart the same plea before a patient Father…”But I want it, Lord!”
But the magic of it is that the things I think I want, and can’t have, are the very things that are changing me from the inside out.
I think I just want a break, but what my heart needs is to know God’s daily mercies and to gather his grace like manna. I think I want to just do it all right, but what I need is to know Christ’s power in my weakness. I think I want to just be left alone for a moment of peace, but the constant interruptions are giving me new eyes to see every opportunity for silence with my King as pure gift. God’s gentle voice speaks to me in my need…in the long breaths before responding to a child’s poor behavior, in the hugs offered when I wanted to roll my eyes, in the moments when my need to be forgiven gives me the humility to offer grace to my children.
So often, I find that the things I’m whining for are the things I need to lay down to find deep, rich, alive intimacy with God.
I’m realizing I may be a tad more refined, but not all that different from my children…and it makes my heart swell with compassion for them.
We can come alongside of our children as they slosh their way through tantrums and time outs, in the same way that Christ comes alongside of us in ours. We can believe that the things they want and can’t have are shaping them. And we can believe the same for ourselves.