It’s a normal Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. I’m in the kitchen sweeping crumbs. Or washing dishes. Or trying to write a blog article real quick. From a faraway corner of the house, I hear an unmistakable sound.
The sound of whining.
My youngest son is frustrated. And fussing.
He’s trying to fit two microscopic Lego pieces together and can’t manage it. The frustration has brought on a whine-fest. (After all, his big brother can do it. Why can’t he? Oh, life is so unfair.)
Whining isn’t allowed in the Watson house. So, I mosey down the hall and park myself in the doorway to his bedroom.
He’s sitting hunched over the offending Legos. When he sees me, he frowns and declares, “This is a bad day.” He tries again with the Legos.
He knows that he can ask me for help at any time. But he wants to do it himself, and I respect that. But, the whining.
I remind him, “You can do it yourself. But you can’t whine. That’s a bad habit. If you want help, I’m here.”
“Help, please,” he says.
As I approach, he does something so odd. He pulls the Legos away from me, quickly tucking them close to his body.
Didn’t he just ask for help? Why is he acting like I’m taking the Legos against his will?
“You have to put them in my hands,” I tell him.
He wants to try one more time. Okay, ten more times. The whining starts again. (I’m getting exasperated. But my love for the kid is as strong as ever.)
“Mommy, help me!” he says (like I haven’t been there the whole time waiting for him to relinquish the blocks already).
“You have to put them in my hands,” I repeat. (I can’t move them with my mind.)
He puts them in my hand. I fit them together and give them back. It’s bittersweet. He’s glad it’s done, but he really wanted to do it himself.
This type of scenario happens often at our house. And every time my son pulls away immediately after asking for help—it’s always so weird to me. But it strongly reminds me of how I behave toward God.
Asking, Not Asking
So often, there’s a disconnect between what I say to God when I pray and what is actually going on inside my heart.
Sometimes I think I’m asking for help (or advice or relief), but I’m really just fussing.
“Help me, God!” I cry.
“You’ve got to let me,” He says.
“I am letting you!” I say, as I clutch tighter to my problems and pull them close to me.
I’m going through the motions of asking, but when the time comes for me to release the controls to Him, I change my mind.
Good Control, Bad Control
I like the fact that my son wants to fit the Lego pieces himself. Another small step toward independence, yay! We all start life totally dependent on our parents, and then we outgrow that. But we should never outgrow dependence on our Heavenly Father.
I like to be in control (a lot!) but there are times when the pieces just won’t fit together no matter how hard I try. Or pray.
I want to do something, but it’s just not happening. (It’s easy for everyone else! But me? Nooooo.) Time passes, and I get bitter. Then, I’m in a rage, making everyone else miserable with my whining. I’m stubbornly clutching my problem, wondering why God doesn’t take it.
What I don’t realize is that (even though I think I’ve let it go) I’m still forcing my own way. It must be done by me (and no one but me). Accepting help would heap coals of shame upon my head. (It says that in scripture somewhere, right?)
Like my small son, I’m upping the fuss-factor to get God’s attention. Or maybe even earn a bit of His sympathy. I’m talking the talk. “A little help over here? Please?”
But what am I not doing? Releasing the Legos. That would be weak, says something deep within me. A failure.
God isn’t going to pry those Legos from my unwilling hands. (Sometimes He does, but not this time.)
I’ve got to uncurl my fingers. Relax my grip. And put my problem in His hands (admitting that, yes, I’m weak).
Even though I’d love to do it myself (and get all the credit and feel all important), I know that the only way it’s going to happen is if it’s in the hands of God. Then, He gets the credit, as I stand in awe and wonder of Him.
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:8-10)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.