Holy Cow. This post inadvertently turned crazy long. I need to hire an editor to help me say things a bit more succinctly. Sorry. Stick with this post only if you have some time to spare. Or if you know and love me in real life and fear I might ask you if you read it. Just kidding.
It frustrates me for my kids to be unreasonably fearful of things or experiences. (Of course I get to be the judge of what’s “unreasonable”.)
Ryan, being my first child and therefore somewhat of a guinea pig, was unfortunately “pushed” into doing some things he most certainly didn’t want to do.
The first time we visited the beach, Ryan was not quite two years old and he was content to stay about 50 yards from the water, playing in the sand. He didn’t want anything to do with the actual ocean. Wouldn’t even put a toe in the wet stuff.
This would not do. I knew that if I could convince him to try it he would love it! My heart was set on seeing him gleefully running from the waves just as they started to lap at his toes! That’s what happens on beach vacations!
After all my verbal coercion failed to convince him, I finally just picked him up (kicking and screaming and obviously scared to death) and stood ankle deep in the water with him. Eventually he would calm down, right? Eventually he would trust me, right? Nope.
He spent the rest of that day on the beach avoiding me, running for the safety of his Dad any time I got close to him.
He never did get wet on that trip.
And I’m left to wonder if he would have eventually warmed up to the ocean if allowed to do so on his own time. Probably so.
I was disappointed because I knew he would have fun if he just tried it.
But I was also frustrated that he wouldn’t trust me. I realize the ocean is loud….and big…and was completely foreign to him….but I was telling him it was safe! That I would hold him tight the entire time! That he would be fine and have a great time! I wanted him to believe me. I wanted my words to be enough to help him overcome his fear. “Mommy is telling you it’s fun and safe. Why won’t you try the water with me?” (Yes, he was a teeny toddler, who didn’t even understand the concept of “safe”. I was a brand new mom with lots to learn.)
Since that trip I have learned a lot. It takes some major restraint, but I’ve learned to give my kids the time they need to try new things. A few summers ago at the pool, it was all I could do not to peel Ryan’s arms from around my neck. He wanted to be held…I wanted him to try swimming with his arm floaties…but I couldn’t convince him. So, he stayed around my neck. And by this summer, he’s a little fish, diving to get things off the bottom of the pool. Without the trauma of me forcing him into it.
Since becoming a parent, I realize how often I act like an untrusting toddler. God speaks, and I respond like an untrusting child.
“Go and make disciples of all nations….”
I sure like it here in my nice, safe home in Lubbock.
“Sing to the Lord! Proclaim his salvation day after day.”
I want people to be able to relate to me. I don’t want to be that person who is always being super spiritual.
“Train up your children in the way they should go. Teach them my commands when you are at home, on the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
I need Sponge Bob to entertain the kids again this afternoon so I can get some things done around the house.
“In humility, consider others needs above your own.”
I really don’t have time for this phone call from a friend in need.
God is the perfect parent. He never picks me up kicking and screaming and forces me into his will. He waits on me to trust Him in my own time.
I wonder how often I’m content to sit in the sand, when there is an entire ocean of adventure and abundant life right in front of me. If I will only trust Him.