I have had this post percolating in my brain for nearly a year. It started last year when my Stella girl was two. She was very much in the “I do it” phase. You know-she wanted to do EVERYTHING on her own. She wanted to put on her own socks. She wanted to zip her own backpack. She wanted to pour her own cereal. She would have fried her own egg had the idea entered her mind. There was no stopping her. The only thing she didn’t want to do on her own was go to the bathroom. Because, I’m sure you agree, some things are better with company. At least to a two year old.
This is the happy “I do it myself” face.
For the most part I tried to encourage her independence. Everything took longer. There were lots of spills. And goodness knows that sometimes she went to school looking like she dressed herself instead of the Mini-Boden model I’d envisioned on my Pinterest boards. But I know that in the scheme of things, that feeling of independence was worth the trade off.
Except sometimes it wasn’t.
Sometimes Stella would become so frustrated trying to get her arm in the correct hole of her pajama shirt that she would fall on the floor in frustration. Her sleeves tangled around her like straight jacket. And then she was just mad. She was too mad to listen to a suggestion. Too mad to listen to gentle encouragement. Too mad to let me guide her.
One morning as I watched her meltdown in frustration, it struck me just how parallel this was to my relationship with God.
I push and pull in life, determined to do it all myself, only to wind up in a pile on the floor. His gentle prompts. His understanding guidance. His compassionate direction. All of that falls of deaf ears when I tangle myself up in the frustration of “I do it” independence.
I’ve read a great deal about how Mother Teresa grappled with her faith. How she doubted the existence of Heaven and at times felt her heart cluttered with doubt. If Mother Teresa can admit her struggle, surely I can.
But I am trying. Striving to listen more and talk less. Attempting to give in to the gentle nudges I feel in life. To follow His benevolent guidance. To walk behind and not lead in my stubbornness.
Without a doubt, sometimes things will take a little longer. There will be spills from time to time. But, I am finding, when I try to lead against all obstacles, I just end up in a heap of frustration on the floor. Just like my two year old.
I am learning for myself and for them. Their eyes pick up much more than their ears.
This is a hard post to write. Faith, for me, is extremely private. Heck, I don’t even say our dinner prayers out loud. But somehow, I felt this was important to share.