I found myself getting really frustrated with my kids today. It started snowing yesterday, and by morning we had about six inches on the ground. The kids were wanting to go out and play, but I told them they had to clean up the mess they’d made first. As an adult, I know that’s not unreasonable. For a kid, I recognize it’s akin to life without parole. I tried to encourage them to just get to cleaning and we could go out. Unfortunately, they resisted. Instead of doing what they were supposed to, they decided to play inside amidst the mess. That in itself wasn’t too bad, but then my daughter (DD) snuck out to make a snow angel. I caught her just outside the door, covered from hair to boots in fluffy, leaf-cluttered snow.
What harmony had been in the house disintegrated. She huffed off to feed her snit and I sat in front of the computer fuming through mine. After a few minutes apart, we were able to talk through a bit. I realize now, I should have told her why I got so angry. It wasn’t just the disobedience. It’s because I was afraid for her. I don’t want her off playing somewhere on her own without my even knowing she’s gone. I don’t want her to get hurt or worse. She’s starting to get to the age where I want to let her have a little more freedom to be supervising herself. At the same time, I need to be able to trust that she’ll be where she says she will, doing what she needs to do.
Parenting is exhausting. It’s not so much the chasing after them, at least once the toddler years are done, but trying to help them learn to think things through for themselves, to take into consideration risks they may not have thought about, to recognize that parental authority is a good idea because I actually do know more than she does.
I seem to have that same problem with Your authority. I like to think that I know almost as much as You do. I understand the ways of the world, so I can make my own decisions. I step out in great confidence only to fall flat on my face, or worse yet, feel admonished for disobeying when I don’t really understand why what I did was a bad idea in the first place. You seem unfair to me, like You’re keeping me from having fun, punishing me, even.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people. (Ephesians 1:18, NIV)
The thing is, I miss the hope. I miss the glory. I miss the big picture of what is better than I could ever imagine. You want to give me so much more than I can even understand, but because I can’t understand, Your gifts don’t always look better.
Lately, I’ve been reminded of a lyric from an old Amy Grant song, “A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way. Near misses all around me, accidents unknown, though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home.” I want so many things in my life to be just the way I want them. I neglect to consider that Your plans are greater than mine–and sometimes it’s my car that runs out of gas while I’m driving into the path of the reckless one. Thank You, God, for taking care of me, even when it means I don’t get what I want.