Tantrum or Timeout?

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Sometimes one of my children don't get what she wants. So that child gives me a tantrum. She screams, kicks her legs, and... sulks. She tells me she doesn't want to talk to anyone, especially me.

I tell her to go to her room and come back only when she's ready to talk without biting other people's heads off. My child goes to her room and I can see how hard it is for her to do that. Children are stubborn. They have pride. But often, that child comes out from timeout calmer and a lot more wiser than she was a few minutes ago.

The moments we spent together, the affirmations of my love, and a relationship that makes her feel safe, makes tough times like these easier to handle and experience together. My children know that our relationship is more important than anything they may want.

I recently wanted to go on a tantrum. Well, I did. Shortly. The reason? I didn't get what I want.

I want to go back to my family soon. Right now, I'm in a place where I'm once again feeling very vulnerable, away from the unconditional support of my family. I want to be where I can do what I am supposed to be doing--- taking care of my hearth and home and fulfilling the dreams that I am certain God has put in my heart. But try as I might (with 99% of the work done by my husband), there is no way of going back home as quickly as I really wish. I have to once again endure the waiting, persevere, and exercise my heart to have faith, and not faint, in the face of the challenges. Most of all, the one thing that I wish I didn't have to know and see again, is for my family to go without me--- as my husband's wife and my children's mother.

Maybe you can understand how much I want to be with my family. Maybe not. But there are many times that we want something so much in our life. Maybe you want that dream job so badly, or a difficult situation to end, or a sick loved one to get well, or a house for the family, or a loved one to change... And you didn't get it.

Does God care? He seems so distant, you wonder.

Well, I wondered why God didn't give in to what I want. So I created distance between us.

I threw a tantrum. I got upset.  I screamed silently, balled my hands into fists and as my heart ached, I sulked. I didn't want to talk to anyone, even God. Especially Him. I ignored Him

What is the use of praying when I don't get answers? And God's promises? They sound so faint subdued by the voices telling me so loudly that I have failed.

Then just as quickly as I got mad, I quickly headed to a place in my mind where I could rest. There I found God's Words ringing clearly, shoving away the doubts and fears. I found His presence embracing me, even as I struggled to reject Him. And there, I found surrender. I talked to Him even when I wasn't ready to talk. To Him.

Why didn't He give me what I long for? Because He wants me to long for Him more than anything. And because He wants me to give to Him my longings and all.

Surrender.

It is hard to do that, especially for someone as stubborn as me. I have pride. A lot of it. But even if I went on a timeout reluctantly, I got out of it, calmer, confident and a lot more wiser.

It used to be so easy to have a tantrum. Now I would rather go on a timeout right away. It's because it's easier now to pull God's Words from the shelves in my heart and allow them to restore peace. Also, knowing that God is interested in a relationship with me makes it safe for me to say whatever is in my heart. He's not a wimp that He can't take my troubled questions. He has said, "Come, let us reason together" (Isaiah 1:18). He wants to spend time with me.

I have come to know that any longings that I have is not as important as my relationship with God. All these are just icing on the cake in a life that's spent with Him.

"Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).

We are also warned about "the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches" that will choke us, leaving us destitute of God. These are not our primary concern, even if in our earthly life they seem to be important.

Our relationship with God should take first place and if given His rightful place, all other concerns, all longings won't be taking up much of the space and peace in our minds as they are placed into God's hands. In His hands, whether He gives us our longings or not, we are certain that we have what our hearts long for--- Him.

In moments when we don't get what we want, there is no need for a tantrum. Take a timeout. Let His Word bring back a divine perspective, talk to Him about your longings, ask Him questions, and receive His peace and wisdom to understand His will. And just as my children come out of timeout calmer and wiser, we too can have a timeout and find rest in God.

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