Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Toddler Vibe

Ironically, I began writing this before our world got flipped upside-down with COVID-19.  It just seemed to become even more relevant afterwards.  So here is a mix of what I started writing few months ago with edits and additions today.

It started with a conversation I had with friends (face-to-face - do you remember when we could do that). One of them has an almost adult child that has had a ton of crazy stuff thrown her way.  My friend is trying to navigate parenting and is facing some major challenges.  As we discussed, another friend mentioned that maybe the challenge they faced was there because it was the only thing that she could control.

If you've had children or are around them, you know, that toddlers tend to cause problems in areas of food and potty.  Why?  Because that is what they can control.  Life is pretty much in the control of everyone around them, and powerless is a hard feeling.  You don't need years on earth to figure that one out, it seems just baked in from birth.  

Very little in life is in our control.  When life is going well, we can trick ourselves into believing we are in control, but even the most disciplined person faces obstacles they have little to no control over.  

Sickness, financial changes, loss, weather, crime...all of these things, and more, are things that we can't control.  We work to do what we can to help lesson the damage or cushion against the hardship headed our way, but truly eliminating trials just isn't an option.

Crazy just how true that is, now that we are all quarantined in our homes.  Truly knowing the hard feeling of powerlessness, is real for so many of us.  You may find yourself grasping for what you can control or throwing toddler-like fits over little things just because they are all you have left to hold onto right now.  Maybe you now have a toddler at home and are face to face with constant fits with no breaks because they don't understand why we can't go anywhere.

So how have you adopted your own toddler vibe?  All of this has shown me just how controlling I am.  I have my ways for grocery shopping and getting life done and all of they craziness in stores has disrupted that and I don't like it.  I've organized photos, DVD's, CD's etc because, sure, I'm not going anywhere, but mainly because its something I can control.

What does the toddler vibe show us?  I think when we understand it fully we can take a step back and look at our lives.

We can acknowledge the loss in our circumstances and grieve that loss.

We can create new rules and expectations for the current reality.

Then we can focus on what we can control.

Right now, I can avoid getting sucked into the drama and fear surrounding me, be informed and respond, rather than react.  I can be intentional with my time and focus on the beauty in slowing down.  I can have a good attitude in the face of hardship and nasty attitudes, because my attitude is something I can always control.  I can enjoy the beauty of my family and extra time with my kids before they get so big and grow up that I won't have them anymore.  I can reminisce about life in the 80's before the internet.  A lot of things weren't perfect then, but life was slower and that was better for us.

So now its your turn?  What in your life, whether COVID-19 or other life related, is out of your control?  What are you grasping for?  What do you need to grieve and how can you refocus?  What can you control?

Let's be honest, this sucks!  I'm not always sure its being handled the best way, and even the experts can't agree, but I can lean into God.  He's always in control.

This being Easter week, I got some great perspective because last Sunday being Palm Sunday, was a celebration.   As Jesus entered the city, people were out to honor him.  He was thought to be the promised Messiah  (which he was), but their expectation of what the promised Messiah would do and what we actually did, didn't coincide.  So when he was sent to die, they turned on him and instead of shouting, "Hosannah," they shouted, "Crucify Him!"  I guess that was their own toddler vibe.

But God hadn't disappointed them.  He wasn't doing what they were asking for and yet he was doing so much more.  By dying on the cross he became the last sacrifice needed.  He gave his life for us.  No more sacrifices needed.  He was and is the way!  But he didn't stay dead, he arose!!!  He was and is alive.  Whether we are congregated in our homes or in buildings we call churches, we are still the church and maybe this change in tradition can give us some fresh perspective on what Easter really means!  God bless each of you! 

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