Yesterday I watched as my daughter had what some deem a toddler "tantrum." I could see it coming yet I couldn't help her prevent it. What struck me as interesting, though, is that I could easily see the layers of crazy stacking on top of each other to eventually make the perfect storm. Then boom! she lost touch with reality, finally exploding with screams and crying and jumping up and down frustration.
What is so odd about this is that my daughter never acts like this. Perhaps this is why I don't yet have a plan to ward it off or steer her from this toddler craziness. I'm not saying that she doesn't some times throw fits, she does, but it's the crazy-can't-hear-anyone-talking-to-her-anymore/screaming/crying that was so unusual.
As I held her while she thrashed in a panicked, sleep desperate way I started praying and thinking. If you remember I wrote a blog a while back called "The Kick And Scream," talking about this strange seeing myself as a child of my heavenly Father through watching my own child experience. I can't help sitting back in my life and seeing time after time the revelation of His fathering me through me mothering my daughter. Now obviously there are HUGE differences but I will take the dim, somewhat cloudy resemblances and look to find God in these moments because it's when I look to find Him in my everyday life that I have the most joy. How could I not? He is a part of my everyday life but I just need to acknowledge Him, shift my gaze towards Him as if to say, "Ahh. There You are. Yes I see You. I knew You would be here."
So here again I looked for Him and what He wanted me to see in this moment with my daughter. Would you believe that I quickly saw my own sin stacking moments? I saw how I can tend to start with something small (well I act like it is something small but really any sin leads to death of joy filled living) like self pity. I wallow in it. Allowing myself to make a bath of it till I think it's something that I need. Then I pile on top of that a bit of bitterness. It's amazing how these two things lock arms together as if they should always remain together. Then I quickly stack bits of anger. Now the life draining is really on a roll and the emotional meltdown seems inevitable. Resentment, anxiety, stress, more self pity, more bitterness, more, more, more, till it seems there is no rational word that can be spoken to me to draw me back to reality.
I exhaust myself.
I find myself lying spent, no longer having the strength to wrestle anymore and it's in these moments that I look again to find my Savior, already there, never having left my side. Then, it's like my body has a violent stomach flu. The self pity and all her other destructive friends begin to be purged. How can you see the Father with such baggage remaining on you? You can't. They are like holding a magnet's two opposing sides together. They oppose each other. Luckily in this case of "Savior vs. Sin," Jesus is so much stronger and it is the sin that is rejected.
So I make a plan. I will see that bottom sin for what it is. I will no longer dip my toes in it and think that just a little bit of self pity won't hurt me, because it's cool clear water is deceptive. It want's to pull me in body and soul till my life has wasted away with a history of thrashing and screaming and flailing.
We are made for more. We are made for a life better than one that we cry and kick through.
Phillipians 4:6-9 says
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you."
Today I will hold tightly to these verses. I will do what they say.
Lord, do garrison and mount guard over my heart and mind. Protect me from my thrashing self.