A few weeks ago, I woke up at 5/5:15/5:23/5:36/5:42. My alarm was set for 5, anyway, and that’s all that counts, right? Anyway, I woke up before the rest of my household, walked bleary-eyed into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, and noticed, much to my surprise, that the table was already set for breakfast. Plates. Napkins. Silverware. Awwww. Which of the three Man Cubs was responsible for this?
“Surprise!!”….my 8-year old jumped out of the pantry (causing me to jolt, slosh my coffee, and thereby bump the niceness of his gesture down half a notch or so). (Life Rule #1: Kids Should Never Jump Out At You From Anywhere. Kids are creepy). Anyway, it was a sweet thing to do, and I told him so, and we proceeded to sit down at the table together. It was still a good 45 minutes until breakfast, but I wanted to sip my coffee and read my Bible, and he wanted to….stand watch over the plates, napkins, and silverware. This child of mine is OCD AF, and the thought of his handiwork getting nudged even a millimeter was more than he could bare. So, he stood vigil over the tableware for the next 45 minutes, while I tried to not feel awkward about the pair of eyes boring into me as I read. “Dude, this table looks awesome, and I promise I’m not going to move anything, if you’d rather go read or watch a movie or something?” “Nah. I just want to make sure it stays perfect until we eat”.
About thirty minutes later his four-year old brother wakes up. Trudges to the table, sits down, and…well, SHIT. Bumps a plate with his elbow. “DD!! Gunnar shrieks. You cannot be at this table. Go somewhere else!!” DD gets pissed, tries to smack Gunnar, and a fork falls to the ground. It’s all just too much, and Gunnar is now frantically trying to grab at the fork on the ground, while holding DD at bay, to prevent him from touching more stuff.
THIS eventually (and fascinatingly) evolves into Gunnar lying on top of the settings, swatting at the air, in hopes of connecting a hand with DD’s face. DD is crying. Gunnar is shouting.
Me? I am calmly saying, “Gunnar, please get off of the dishes and calm down. I promise I will handle this, and not let it get messed up.
Frantic activity (and ass-kicking between brothers) continues to ensue. Other things are falling. Heaven help everyone. It’s 6 am, mind you.
Still calm, I say something to the effect of, “Gunnar, if you will just get out of the way, and CALM DOWN, I will work this out for you. I will HANDLE it”.
Gunnar, still using one hand to protect the dishes and another to ward off DD shouts, “you won’t be able to handle it!! It’s all gonna get messed up!!”
Alright. Mama ain’t calm any longer.
“Gunnar!!!! Stop this!!! Let me HANDLE it. I can handle the dishes, AND DD. I do NOT need your help. In fact, you are making things so much worse! Stop stressing yourself out over this!!”
Because I ll be damned if this isn’t the EXACT same interaction that occurs between God and I. Pretty much daily.
Me: You won’t be able to handle it! It’s all gonna get messed up!
God: Stop this!!! Let me HANDLE it. I can handle the_____, AND _____. I do NOT need your help. You are making things so much worse! Stop stressing yourself out over this!”
Gunnar’s dramatic display had amused, and eventually, infuriated me. And yet how often am I guilty of that very same thing? Lying on top of “dishes”, swatting at the air like a crazy person? Desperately trying to control, protect, fight? All the while, God must be standing there, one eyebrow raised, thinking, “what are you DOING? Don’t you think I can handle this? Don’t you see the effect this is having on you? Oh, and by the way, you’re ruining something that was meant to be good, and you look sort of ridiculous in the process. Sweetie. (because God is gentle and kind).
I was irritated at Gunnar, because the way he was handling it was wrong. He should have backed off and let me handle it. I knew how to ACTUALLY handle it, properly.
I was offended, because he didn’t believe I was able to take control of the situation, and I WAS.
I was sad for him, because…this didn’t have to be so hard.
I just know that God must feel all of those very same things though, watching me churn and strive and control every day, just to protect my “plates”.
Perhaps I’m alone in this. Perhaps I’m the only crazy one sprawled out on the table, frantically trying to keep breakfast plates from being moved around.
But assuming I’m NOT the only one…
Maybe God is trying to say the same thing to you:
“Stop this!!! Let me HANDLE it. I can handle the…illness AND the stress…the messy marriage AND the troubled children…the dreams AND the disappointments. I do NOT need your help. You are making things so much worse! Stop stressing yourself out over this.”
Take a deep breath. Enjoy your breakfast. Let your mama (your Daddy), send your pesky little brother to time out, and gently help you arrange your dishes back in place. This isn’t all on you to figure out, and quite honestly, you look a little ridiculous up there on the table. (Sweetie).