Monday, November 15, 2004

What We Can Learn About God From Being Parents: Dealing with "Meltdowns"

Those who have parented a toddler have experienced “meltdowns”: tantrums where even a wonderfully mannered, well behaved, child becomes inconsolable and almost uncontrollable. The cause is usually trivial by objective standards, but terribly upsetting to the child.

The effect is similarly upsetting; the parent can forget about whatever was planned because the normal dynamics of the parent-child relationship are temporarily suspended. Instead, the focus shifts to “damage control,” limiting the disruption and making sure that the toddler doesn’t hurt herself. It’s very frustrating because even if there is a real problem, the child’s reaction only hinders the parent’s ability to address it.

I wonder if our there isn't a similar dynamic between adults and our heavenly Father. Things come into our lives that are inconsequential from an eternal perspective, but we react terribly because they are terribly disturbing from our limited point of view. That at least temporarily interferes with whatever plans God has for us, and I bet that God, in his perfect love, shifts into the damage control mode to get us through it. And just as a child’s meltdown complicates the task of dealing with the underlying problem, our frenzy adds to the mess God must clean up.

So how do we prevent, or at least limit, meltdowns?

We should do what we would like our kids to do: tell our Father what’s bothering us and trust Him will deal with it. That’s not easy, but just as we are eager to soothe our kids’ agitated emotions in the midst of their meltdowns, God is eager to calm us in ours. And just as the parent is better able to deal with the underlying problem than the child, God can solve our problems far better than we can—if we will just get out of the way and let him.

(Other images comparing our relationship with God with our relationship to our children can be found at What We Can Learn About God From Being Parents.
Images about prayer were posted September 17, 17a, and 17b; October 8 and 17, November 13 and 19, 2004 and May 27, 2005.
Images about trusting God amidst the unexpected/difficult/incomprehensible were posted November 7, and 15, 2004, and April 25, July 11b, and August 9, 2005.)

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