During the last song of the worship service, I saw him, a curly-headed toddler standing a few rows ahead of me. He and his dad were holding hands. Sort of. The toddler was ready to leave. But his dad wasn’t.
As his dad sang, the little boy started pulling – pulling hard. Sometimes, he would hook his left hand around his right wrist to give a little more oomph to the tug. Of course, Dad was stronger. After a while, his dad lightened his grip ever so slightly. With a final tug, the boy’s hand released from his dad’s and the same force he used to pull spilled him onto the floor. When he realized what had happened, he stood up, a little red in the face and walked tenaciously back to his dad. He started hitting his dad, you know – toddler hitting – slapping at his arms and legs, apparently thinking Dad had caused his fall.
When he realized he hadn’t gotten his original desire, he took ahold of his father’s hand again, and began pulling hard.
Second verse, same as the first.
So he pulled himself back to his feet a second time, went back to his dad and…
He could have placed his hand in his father’s and waited patiently until his father said it was time to leave. But he didn’t. He’s a toddler. Waiting patiently is not how toddlers roll.
I’ve heard insanity defined as doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result. This sweet little boy isn’t insane. He simply hasn’t learned that he doesn’t make all the decisions, that he isn’t the center of the universe.
And sometimes, sadly, I haven’t learned that lesson either.
In the song Me Without You Toby Mac describes life apart from God. The chorus says without God, “I’d be packing my bags when I need to stay, I’d be chasin’ every breeze that blows my way.”
I understand those lines. One my own, it’s how I roll.
And like my toddler friend, I sometimes fall flat when I take matters into my own hands.
I wish I could say I always get back up, return to my heavenly father’s side and stay or move as he leads. But I don’t. Like the curly-headed boy, I sometimes get mad, feel a little wounded and then start the process all over again.
I Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways.”
I want to set aside what is left of my childish ways. Sometimes that means staying put until God moves me. I have a lot of ideas – big ideas. But my heavenly father’s higher and better ways are the ones I want to act on.
Of course, that will require me to slow down and listen for him while staying quiet enough to hear Him.
Thank you for the powerful lesson, adorable little curly-headed boy.