Grown-Up Tantrums

I have three children. A four-year-old, almost-three-year-old, and a 15-month-old.

Of all the child behaviors I’ve seen, few perplex, frustrate and challenge my patience like having to take something from my 15-month-old son.

My husband and I take things from him for primarily two reasons: to protect him or to give him something better.

“No, son, it isn’t a good idea that you attempt to walk with that toothbrush in your mouth.”

“Oh, I see that you’re out of applesauce. Let me have that so I can give you a full one.”

These reasons make perfect sense to us.

But to our son, taking anything from his tiny mitts it’s a declaration of war.

The screaming. The flailing of arms. The attempts to hide and get away.

And the cream on top? The clinching of his tiny fist like a vice grip around whatever we’re trying to take.

Now, before you ask, let me tell you: this little boy is strong. He’s like a little sumo or body builder. And he’s stubborn and strong-willed…

And he’s only one year. So that justifies the response.

No matter how calmly, lovingly and reassuringly I say whatever it is that I’m saying – usually, “Oooh, don’t cry. I’m going to give it back.” – he still wails and hangs on to said object with all of his might.

But he’s one. So that’s what he does because he doesn’t know any better. And because he doesn’t understand loss. And because he’s still learning that his father and I only want to give him the best of everything.

How fortunate we are to outgrow that behavior, right?

Right?

Well, the truth of the matter is that many of us haven’t fully left these tantrums in our childhood.

Although we “know” we serve a God whose wealth is unimaginable and cannot be comprehended by our minds. Even though we have a Heavenly Father who PROMISES to give us a future that’s better than anything we could ever think or imagine. When the rubber meets the road and the Lord tells us to let go so He can give us something more, something new…what do we do?

Clinch our fists like a baby. Throwing full-on grown up tantrum.

During my devotion and prayer this morning, The Lord told me to let some things go. In fact, He’s been telling me for weeks that He’s about to do something new and amazing in my life and that He needs me to rest so I won’t get there winded.

I’ve dragged my feet. Not understanding how me giving up a few volunteer posts could possibly help my career. And how could me turning away potential clients help my house’s pocketbook?

Even this morning I queried Him. “God, you know what our financial situation is. You know our goals? This doesn’t make sense.”

He began to convict me: “Open your hands, Safiya. I can’t put anything new into it if you don’t release some things.

As I continued to seek Him he lead me to Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV)

How many of us are so transfixed on the blessings God’s already given us that we’re too afraid to let them go for more?

He doesn’t want us to forget His provision and faithfulness rather He wants us to trust that faithfulness and trust Him enough to let things go; to open our hands so he can put fresh blessings, fresh opportunities, fresh favor, fresh grace, fresh mercy and SOMETHING NEW in our hands.

But we let fear lead us to rejecting God and His blessings. “Lord, if I turn down this client or leave this job, how am I going to make it? If I leave this relationship, who’s going to love me? If I resign from this post how am I going to get seen or appreciated or recognized?”

OPEN YOUR HAND.

Because exactly like our human parents, God only wants to protect us or give us something better. But unlike our human parents, He gives us a choice: He asks us, “Do you want to keep that old thing or do you want fresh blessings/anointing/favor?”

And how appropriate that as we celebrate this season of recognizing our Still-Living God that we be forced to answer this question: if He did it then, can’t He do it again?

There’s a season for everything: that includes jobs, relationships, financial blessings, and everything. When God tells you to let things go it is ALWAYS so He can either protect you or do something new, bigger and better.

I chose today to stop throwing my grown-up tantrum. Not just because I want what God wants to give. No, I did it because I want God to know I trust Him. That no blessing/gift He’s ever given me is greater than the Gift-Giver. And because I know that He knows all of my needs, and dreams and He wants me to succeed as much as I do.

What are you holding on to in your clenched fist?

In What area are you saying, “God, you usually do really well with everything else, but I’ve got this.”?

Open your hand. God is doing something new in YOU and for you.

Don’t miss out because you’re holding onto the past.

The same God who made a way out of no way before wants to do it for you again.

…if you’d just open your hand.

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