From downstairs, I could hear them upstairs shouting at each other. My first thought was to intercede - to calm them down, to have them respectfully explain to each other what they are feeling, to practice how to communicate in a healthy fashion.... Instead, I found myself saying out loud, "They have to learn to work it out by themselves." They know how to communicate. We practice almost every day. So, I stayed downstairs. About five minutes later, each son came downstairs happily carrying fun dip. (Apparently, on brother had accidently locked the bedroom door with the fun dip in it. Awesome. I love when they yell at each other about something super important - I say that with sarcasm.)
The situation stirred my thoughts. My boys are getting old enough to be able to work things out some things by themselves. Sometimes, I need to step back and give them room to practice what I have already taught them. It's a bumpy process, but that is how they grow. My desire to jump in and save the day is not always the healthiest approach. I need to trust that they can successfully apply what they have already learned.
I can have a hard time letting go. I like to be able to control things so they turn out how I imagine they should. But, that parenting moment was a good reminder that sometimes the best way to let something work itself out is to throw my hands in the air and take a step back.
Because I often cling too hard to things that I need to let go of...things that have exhausted my efforts and thoughts...things that are out of my control...things that God already has in his control. How often do I cause myself unnecessary stress by clasping my hands too tightly around a situation, insisting it go my way? I know God is bigger than me, and that he can work in my life despite me, but I wonder if sometimes things would just go smoother if I would more quickly lay my burden at his feet, trust his leading, and watch him do his work?
It's like when my three-year-old doesn't want to leave the house. Often he is busy playing and doesn't want to transition into what we have planned next. He cries and takes off his coat and shoes, right after I have put them on. He is still small; I have the ability to pick him up and force him to get in the car, but when he does it on his own, life goes smoother for all of us. And he is almost always just fine and happy seconds after we have left the house. I wonder how often I play the role of a child with God? As God is leading me through a door, I am taking off my coat and shoes and being uncooperative because I want to feel like I am in control or maybe I am scared about the next unknown step. God has the ability to force me through the door, and I suspect he often does, but if I would just cooperate and trust his leading, would life sometimes go smoother and my heart feel more peace?
I memorized this verse as a little girl:
God has been continually teaching me this since I first learned the verse. In my head, I know that worrying and trying to control certain situations does nothing but cause me more stress and anxiety. And that I often just need to trust God's leading. However, my actions do not always reflect what my head knows.
This could be completely discouraging - that I am continually having to be re-taught the importance of letting go and trusting - but it's not. Because each time God teaches me this lesson, I feel trust grow in my heart. It is little-by-little...but it grows. So, I will count each lesson and each growth a success, no matter how small it is. And that is encouraging.