My precious Steven has developed a bit of a habit. He will be right in the middle of wonderfully fun play, when suddenly it will come into his mind that he just has to do something different. He might want to go outside, play a Wii game, watch a movie, play with his sisters, or do something with me or Doug. Whatever the case may be, his sudden new idea immediately nullifies any joy he was finding in his previous activity. If, for any reason, he can’t follow through with this new idea, the disappointment is just too overwhelming to continue happily.
The problem is that he is frequently disappointed. It’s not so much that his ideas are bad as it is that his timing is wrong. He wants to go outside on a cold, wet day. He wants to play with me, Doug, or the girls when we are in the middle of school or some work that we just cannot instantaneously put aside. He wants to watch a movie or play on the Wii in the mornings, something we rarely do. The funny thing is that, on these occasions, he knows before he asks what the answer is going to be. But he still asks, and he still sets himself up for an onset of disappointment and dissatisfaction with his current activity options. Instead of continuing to enjoy where he is in that moment, he begins to focus on what he can’t have. Instead of waiting for what he knows to be better timing, he chooses frustration by insisting on it all right now.
As much as we’d like to ignore the truth, we are often like my four-year-old son. We are trucking along just fine until we come across something we just have to have right now. Somehow we suddenly can find no contentment or satisfaction without the change, even though we know it is not God’s timing. We know it is not right for us. We know that what we have right now is perfect for us. But it doesn’t change the fact that our appetite has been whetted for something else and our contentment seems to have just gone out the window.
As Steven grows older, he will learn to not even ask when he already knows the answer. He will learn to ask in better timing. He will learn to curb his desires and reduce his frustration. It is a natural part of the maturity that comes with age and growth.
What about us? Our increasing maturity isn’t measured quite the same way Steven’s is, but we are not excused. We also must advance in our spiritual maturity and learn to walk in God’s timing. Are we making progress in that direction, or are we just continuing to wallow in our immaturity? Are we learning when and how to ask for more, or are we begging and pleading for our ill-timed desires without acquiescence to God’s will and timing?
Just as I desire my sweet boy to outgrow this phase of bringing disappointment and frustration down on himself, so God desires for us to put aside the immaturity that keeps us living in perpetual frustration. May we choose to grow, and in doing so choose to find contentment and beauty wherever we are, combined with hope for the beauty that is yet to come.