Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Tantrums of Life

Sometimes I hope for something so much that, when I don't get it, I crash - hard.

Not getting that job . . . the promotion goes to someone else . . . romantic interest is not reciprocated . . . bombing on an exam . . . missing that weight goal . . . the business doesn't take off . . . . approval for the new car, house, or apartment fell through . . . coming in 4th place . . . not being healed. Sometimes, life sucks. We pray hard, God says 'No' (or 'Not Yet'), and we throw a tantrum.

It's a convenient excuse to do something that I know I probably shouldn't be doing. I guess it's an outlet. I know I can convince myself that self-medicating is easier to deal with the disappointment of lost hope. It might be masturbation. It might be over-eating. It might be drinking alcohol. It might be unrestrained flirtation. It might be shopping. For others, it might even be sex, engaging in an unhealthy relationship, provoking someone in anger, or falling back on some sort of chemical dependency.

For me, it's been Premium "Light" Cookies-N-Cream Ice Cream . . . .

. . . . except I'll eat the entire half gallon container within a single day. Two days later, I'll go out and get another.

I'm such an impulse buyer.

Of course, I always regret it later. Even while I'm doing it - whatever "it" is - I recognize that I'm acting out. I'm being a brat. And I can almost hear the Spirit saying, "Um . . . so . . . whatcha doin' that for?" And I'm like, "Well, such and such didn't happen so I get to do this. Humph!" or maybe something like, "Well, if I don't get to have that then I'm taking this!"

What am I eleven years old?

I know I can't justify sin. Even when doing a thing in itself may not be a sin (ie. eating ice cream), I can make it a sin if I'm doing it with a sinful heart. And of course, there are those other tantrums that are clearly sinful. Regardless, I can't justify acting out simply because I didn't get what I had hoped for.

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from YOUR desires that battle within you? YOU want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but YOU cannot have what YOU want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because YOU ask with wrong motives, that YOU may spend what YOU get on YOUR pleasures." (James 4:1-3)

It's not like every unanswered prayer is done with wrong motives. How can asking for healing be bad or selfish? But it's how I respond to not being healed (or not getting that job, or not having so and so love me back, or not hitting my goal, etc.) that is worth examining.

God is not my genie. He's my God.

I find myself growing closer to Him when I learn to accept His will, the circumstances of life, freaks of nature, or even my own mistakes without throwing a tantrum. I'm finding a peace in aligning my will with His. It's an amazing feeling to come to that place of moving on.

Life goes on.

"Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

There's kind of a freedom in going with the flow of life without getting tripped up on what's happening during the ride. It's like I'm learning to trust Him more and more during this journey of mine and I get to ask Him, "What's next, Lord?". In hindsight, I can always see God's wisdom in why certain bends in the road were necessary. He does things (or allows things) for my own good, for the good of others, or even for the good of His plan.

I'm learning that God is absolutely for me. Who can be against me?

I'll try to be for God the next time I don't get what I hope for. I may not always understand the "why's" of my life. But I'll try to appreciate the blessings He does give me and I'll find my peace in knowing that He's on my side and I'm on His.

Thank You, Lord, for being ever so patient with me and my tantrums!


Juliabohemian said...

well, at least it's light ice cream. For a while it was M & M's and then pickles. I can eat a whole jar. No calories but TONS of sodium.

I think it's a maturity issue as well, being able to see that we are not a victim of circumstances, but that things happened for a reason. My husband especially seems to think that he is a victim of some kind of conspiracy when things don't go his way. I am always looking for some reason why things are the way they are. Sometimes I read too much into things, though.

JJ said...

Yeah, I've done my fair share of childish crying to God... "...but it isn't faaaiiiiirrrr!" I know it's silly. And yeah, I've indulged int the sinful sulking as well. And as much as I want to believe I've matured, I'm sure I'll do it again. It's nice to know that God's grace is limitless. It's also nice to know that He is with us to help us grow past this sort of thing.

tk said...

great thoughts.

as usual.