I don’t know about you, but when I was little, I had a healthy amount of fear of the “mom glare”. If y’all don’t know what I’m talking about, I will do my best to describe it. It was when you were about to do something wrong and your mom knew it (because mothers are magical creatures with at least 4 more senses than the average person) so to combat it, she gave you her signature stare that said, “Try me and see what happens”. That one. I experienced that face when I was 3 years old, I remember it vividly. She and I still lived in Georgia and we were in a fairly populated space, be it a grocery store, park, etc (I don’t remember exactly) and I look over to see another little girl around my age throwing a temper tantrum and the mom caved so that she would stop making a scene and she got what she wanted. I thought to myself, “hmmm, that’s how this works”. I took a small breath in and filled my lungs so that I could sustain a lengthy tantrum. My mom knew…she knew and gave me the eye and said, “Sabrina Michelle, try it and see what happens. I don’t think so.” My tiny, 3 year old body released the air and my plans were foiled. I never tried again.
To all who are wondering, my mom is the funniest, strongest, smartest, most determined woman I know. But try her patience and it won’t go well. I knew this from a young age so I never got in trouble. I’ve never broken the rules on purpose, I’ve never gotten grounded, I’ve never had a material object taken away from me and she’s never had to yell or embarrass me in public to get her point across. With a swift and silent look, I knew that what I was about to do wasn’t smart or allowed. From this, I learned discipline, integrity, honor, and the morals/values I hold dear to this day. How many of us have a parent like that in our lives? It’s a blessing to have. Many people have had a figure in their life to show them right from wrong and have learned that throwing temper tantrums isn’t the way to get what you want or get it faster. But what about spiritual temper tantrums? When you’re unemployed and get anxious and angry that God hasn’t provided that break you need yet. Or when you are tired of being single and just want someone to love you. What about if you’ve ever been financially devastated and haven’t gotten relief from it yet? There are so many situations I could write about but you get the idea: when there is something you want or even need in your life that God hasn’t delivered on yet so you get angry or rebellious.
The examples I put in the paragraph above are things I have or are currently dealing with. I’ve made my peace with my singleness. But right now, I am jobless and broke. I had a job previously only 2 months post-grad. It was great! Awesome company, supportive co-workers, etc. However, I felt lead to quit my job in order to pursue my ministry full time. I was happy to be obedient until the time came for me to really trust Him. Life is expensive: you need food to live, you need to pay bills, you have all sorts of responsibilities in life to manage and unfortunately, it takes money to solve those issues. But when you have no job, you have no income. When you have no income, you can’t afford to pay bills, food, or life. When you can’t afford life, you get angry at God for not following through on a promise or delivering you out of your current situation. This is where I am and if I may be candid and honest, it’s awful. I feel so helpless and stuck, I don’t feel like an adult, and I hate having to rely on my mom who has to provide for me, my grandmother, and herself with all the world’s debt and bills on top of that. She has never once made me feel like a failure or pressured me to help out. I have wanted to help her and my grandma since I was 11 years old. It has always been my dream to provide financially and help pay off their debts and bills but I can’t and it makes me angry. I just want to give back a portion of what they’ve done for me. But God has shown me that even the most noble of thoughts can be rooted in pride or show a lack of trust in Him.
Now here is a disclaimer: I do not think it is prideful (in any way, shape or form) of me to have a heart that wants to help my family. This isn’t what I’m saying. What I am saying is that along the way, I could get confused and think that I am the one solely responsible for providing safety, comfort, & deliverance from hard problems. This job description sound familiar? It should because those are all things that God promises to do. He won’t break His promises and He can’t let us down, it’s not in His nature! He is the provider, Jesus is the ultimate comfort and only He can deliver us from all danger. It isn’t my job, nor am I capable of, providing for them but I am the type of person who would take all of that on. I would assume all responsibility and when I do this, I get stressed when something doesn’t go according to plan. So if there was ever a month where I was unable to help them out, I would take on a strong sense of guilt which would lead to me getting stressed & have anxiety attacks which results in feeling as though I’m a failure. This would then result in me having a spiritual temper tantrum and angrily asking God why He isn’t doing what He said He would. .Over the years, I’ve gotten to know myself pretty well and this has been a pattern for me in various aspects of my life but most notably during my time in college. You know who else knows that? God. He knows me, He’s known me since the very beginning and He is protecting me from those things and is instead working on me.
When life doesn’t go our way, we have a tendency to have spiritual tantrums and they can look very different for everyone. For some, it would be getting angry at God for a period of time and being rebellious. For others, it could look finding an idol to help you cope with your situation and then there are those that just completely put their relationship with Jesus on hold. I am guilty of all 3. I’ve yelled at God, I’ve used other earthly things to help me cope with what was going on in life. And I’ve even led a passive relationship with Him and stopped reading my Bible, ceased spending time with Him, and only had a relationship with Him by name (i.e. calling myself a Christian). But none of these gets us what we want nor does it help us achieve it faster. It took a couple of times to learn and to this day, I am still learning this lesson. But a great solution is to be obedient. I know it’s hard but it truly does work. Years of experience has shown me the results.
This was something hard to accept because I am someone who likes being able to do it all and have control but that’s not realistic nor is it reflective of my human capabilities. I can’t do it all on my own and He tells us we can’t either. We will always fall short but He never will! This is a very short blog post but what I want you to take away from it is that throwing a temper tantrum never got us what we wanted as kids with our parents, right? And if our parents were ever “yes” parents, we ended up being spoiled and had to learn real life the hard way later down the road. With God, it’s the same way. He says “no” or “wait” sometimes because He knows what’s good for us. He is the ultimate parent and disciplining is a sign of love. Whenever you feel like throwing a spiritual temper tantrum, remind yourself of God’s promises. Read the Bible to remember who He is and what His nature is. Not only will you grow in life but you will grow in your relationship with Him. That is worth more than anything in the world.
“He always grants me peace and reels in my distracted heart.” – Sabrina McIntyre