Are We Just Giant Toddlers?
One morning as I left for work a while back I could see my 20 month-old son through the glass front door screaming his head off because I left him. Watching him wail as I sped off, a thought hit me: We are all just giant toddlers.
Trevor was perfectly safe in our home. He had everything he needed in that moment, including food, drink, shelter, clothes, and love. He had someone with him attending to his every need and every desire within reason. He was as safe as he could be, his nanny could call me if something happened, and Trevor’s little toddler dreams of eating Goldfish and playing in the sandbox would come perfectly true that day. But in the moment, from his knee-high perspective, he could see none of that. He only knew that he wanted his mama! He felt abandoned and insecure and fearful of what the day would bring. He refused to accept his role as a kid with a babysitter for the next eight hours. He didn’t understand his place in the world, why his parents weren’t physically with him, or how fast the day would fly once he got started. He didn’t know that Mom going to work to make money to pay the mortgage and buy the groceries was the best thing for him that day. Being a tiny tot, he definitely didn’t pause to thank God for his place in the world, or all his blessings, his family, his toys, the fact that he was born a white male in the United States of America in the year 2011! He was fixated on a temporary problem. The nerve.
At the same time T was going at it, I was whining and pouting about my own place in the world. My husband was working 24/7 on a farm we bought two hours from our house, I was five months pregnant with our second baby, I felt like I didn’t have any help with my kid, I thought we were broke and headed to the poorhouse, I had a feeling we were going to have to move to our farm in New Mexico, and I did. not. want. to. I didn’t want to leave my friends, some of the best I’ve ever had. I didn’t want to leave my job, my most favorite job ever. I didn’t want to leave my shiny granite countertops and two-car garage. I hated the idea of not knowing what the days would bring if we moved to our farm. I hated the idea of being alone out there. I hated the fact that I was not in control.
And therein lies my similarity to toddlers: I want to think I’m in control. I think screaming and crying and pitching fits and disobeying and refusing to comply is how to get my way so I can shape my own life. I’m throwing a tantrum behind a glass door in an environment that is perfectly set up for my growth and development. I think I don’t have what I need to thrive. I think no one cares about me and no one’s listening when I’m distraught. I think the people here to help me are the wrong people, and there’s no way I can look past my pitiful state. I am self-absorbed and insecure and I think I know what’s best for me.
Obviously, if Trevor could talk, he would’ve told me he felt all of this at the time, rather than screaming like a banshee. He would’ve calmly explained how he needed me there that day for comfort and assurance during all the changes in his little world. That’s one thing about kids who can’t talk; they are frustrated because no one understands what they want and need and feel. They feel lonely and abandoned and frightened of what’s going to happen.
So am I the only one acting like a toddler when I don’t get my way? When I have to trust that God is in control, that he has prepared a place for me, that he has plans to prosper and not to harm me, that he has numbered the hairs on my head and he knows the places I will go and the work he has for me there? He is providing everything I need every single day. He gives wisdom freely when I ask for it. He gives grace and love and mercy so abundantly that I’m lucky to recognize even a speck of it. He created me and cares for me, just the way I care for my own son and daughter. Look at the freedom I have in Him! Look at the free reign I have in this world because He is paving the way for me. Check out the love and security and peace that I have because I trust Him, WHEN I trust Him.
But don’t look at the way I act in the midst of it. That’s embarrassing. Don’t listen to my tantrums and worries and fears that no one is taking care of me when my mom drives away to work…or actually, when my husband is working all night, my friends are only on Facebook, my patience is thin, my kids are bad, and my feelings of inadequacy are the only ones I acknowledge. This is what puts me at the same maturity level as toddlers. Lack of trust and faith and refusing to dwell on the fact that God is here, now, and that is all I need.
I read a quote recently, “Stress is an advertisement for the unreliability of God.” As an adult toddler, I don’t want to advertise His unreliability. I want to advertise the loving, compassionate, trustworthy God we have. I want to stop throwing tantrums and acting out in disobedience and fall into God’s plans for me. I’ve got some growing up to do. But I did move to the farm.