Monday, March 8, 2010

If You Say No, I'll Scream

My son has reached a fun age. Most of the time. He is teaching himself how to jump – hilarious. He is already exhibiting a tenacious independent streak – like mother like son. OK. Like his entire genetic line, but I digress.

But at 18 months, he's reached a place where his receptive language far surpasses his expressive language. In other words, he totally gets it when I say no, but he has no words to express his outrage.

So, he falls out in the floor and cries.

This drives me insane. He needs to learn that being told no is not justification for a tantrum. He needs to learn to obey in spirit as well as in action. He needs to learn that if he falls out in the floor and throws a fit, he'll be spending some time in “time out” because mommy is NOT going to tolerate this behavior.

So, on a recent morning when he fell out in the floor, I scooped him up in my arms as I commented to my husband that “I will not have a child who behaves this way”. As I carried him into his room, I said to him, quite sternly and parent-like, “James, you are going to have to learn that when Mommy says no, she has a reason for doing so. Just because you don't understand the reason doesn't mean you can throw a fit about it.”

And then, as so often happens when I'm having a self-righteous moment, I heard it . . . the Voice.

And I'm telling you, He was laughing as He gently, but firmly, put me in my place.

“Really? You aren't going to have a child who behaves this way? You think it is inappropriate for a child to throw a fit when he has been told no. You think your son should obey you willingly and without complaint, even when you have made a decision he doesn't understand? That is very interesting.”


I kissed my son and put him in time out. Then I went and put myself in time out.

How often do I behave like a spiritual 18 month old? How often does God look at me and shake His head and wonder when I will outgrow this infantile behavior. Because I can tell you right now, I'm all for doing God's will, I just have a tendency . . . OK, a general predisposition . . . OK, I pretty much throw a fit when His will takes me down an unpleasant path. Because I want to know WHY!

     “I'll obey Lord, just, please, explain it to me.”

     “Father, I want your will for my life, but could you give me a glimpse into the plan, here?

     “This would be so much easier if I understood the logic.”

But just as there is no way for my 18 month old to fully understand my logic, there is no way for me to fully understand the infinite wisdom of God.

But my son can learn to obey even when he doesn't understand. He can learn to obey without falling out. And he will. Have you ever seen an 18 year old fall down in the floor and cry when his parents tell him no? I hope not.

So what do I do now? I can learn more and more about my Savior. Because the more I know Him, the more I'll trust Him and the easier the obedience will be.

I guess I need to grow up!

2 Peter 3:18 – Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.