Lenten Thoughts: Tantrums

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On a quick trip to Walmart recently, I realized I come out with much more than bags of food and necessities. I often come away with fodder for reflections. On my last trip, my attention was grabbed by a three year old child throwing a “fall on the floor, bloody scream” tantrum. The only person whose attention she didn’t seem to grab was her mother.

Where do tantrums come from? Typically, they seem to be about not getting my way or not getting the attention I think I need. Pondering the recent tantrum I observed, reminded me of a time when I was part of a church mixed bowling league.

One night a couple on our team was unable to get a sitter and had to bring their daughter with them. She was about two years old. As the evening wore on, her parents became more and more involved in their game and less aware of her. Her behavior escalated as she worked to get their attention. At first they scolded her, finally she got a swat on her bottom. Her wails of “pain” could be heard by everyone in the alley. Finally, the mom pulled the little girl into her lap and rocked her to comfort. The girl quieted and was asleep within just a few moments.

What can bring on a tantrum? When things don’t go my way. One of my grandson’s favorite questions is “Why?” Why can’t I have candy all day? Why can’t I play outside in my slippers? Why do I have to take a nap? Why do I have to pick up my toys? Why questions are often accompanied by little feet stomping, all pointing to things not going the way he wants.

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How much drama is created in our lives when God doesn’t work the way we think he should? How many times do we question his wisdom, purpose, or plan? After a very dark time of questioning, my husband shared with me he learned to quit asking why. He felt God was reluctant to answer that question, but he always seemed to answer, “What’s next?” The difference is the distance between trust and tantrum.

Drama demonstrates a lack of trust.

Drama is the voice of one who thinks he knows better. It is the behavior of one who feels she needs more attention. The Good News is God knows our need better than we do. His plans and purpose, while not always understandable, are always for our good.

God doesn’t hand out acting awards, but he does promise to hold us in the palm of his hand, remember all our tears, and count the hairs on our heads. He can be trusted.

When we surrender our drama, we find his peace.
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Fretting or Still?

 

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Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:7, ESV)

I’ve always been a watcher. I find people fascinating.

But there are times when my watching is not fascination, it’s frustration. It’s filled with fretting.

They have better. Then have more. Why can’t I have what they have?

I begin to whine and stomp like a three year old not getting their way in the playroom.

It’s not a pretty sight. And it doesn’t feel good inside either.

God’s solution: stop it! Still yourself and wait patiently. For him.

I will not get it “right” if all I do is try and wait for the things others have.

That’s not what God is offering.

He’s offering himself. And I am to wait for that…to want Him.

No toy, no gizmo or gadget, will ever satisfy the way He does.

Be still, wait patiently for Him.

PRAYER: God, you offer more than the toys the of world. Still me. I don’t want to fret over them any longer. I want you.