Help for the Angry Idealist
We decided to visit a local waterpark one more time before the season ended. After enjoying lots of slides, the boys asked to go in the wave pool. Knox held my right hand as we ran into the deepening water.
Eventually we got to a point neither of us could touch the bottom. He and I bobbed up and down with each wave, smiling and laughing.
Slowly, we were pushed to the edges of the water, the fake “shore”. The waves which a few moments before were enjoyable now crashed rhythmically on top of us.
Knox was not a fan. With each hit he yelled at the water, which was about every 1.5 seconds. And I giggled (not in a cruel way, of course).
In his two-year-old brain he thought his anger would stop the waves. I understood the silliness of his emotions.
I knew his yelling was wasted. Only a timer on the machine behind the fake dock-motif held the power to stop these incessant waves.
His ideal was calm water. And when that ideal wasn’t met, the result was anger.
I totally get it. I’m a fellow idealist.
I picture well-behaved children. A clean home. Kind friends. Loving siblings. Peace & Truth.
When the reality comes crashing down on me. . .repeatedly. . .I get angry.
I’ve written before about the “crazy comes waves“. How sometimes I paint the whole day as bad, when in fact it was just a few times in a day where things got hairy.
Seeing Knox’s response to the waves, awoken me to the futility of my anger. What does it help if I get mad that the waves are coming? They are going to come. Reality is never going to match my ideals.
So what should I do?
Lower my ideals? Not expect great things in life or from my children?
Maybe it’s not about lowering ideals, but holding up promises.
Perhaps my ideals fall short of reality because they aren’t realistic.
God commands kids to obey, but did not promise obedient kids.
I can keep getting mad that my kids don’t obey (hold up the ideal of obedient children). OR I can teach them God’s command and His promise that life will go better when they obey and let God handle the rest.
Because back at the waterpark, when we were fully submerged in the waves, Knox wasn’t angry. He didn’t feel uncomfortable. All we did was float up and down.
Perhaps being fully submerged in God’s promises, my joy will increase as the tension of my unmet expectations decreases.So let’s look at what God promises and what the reality of life includes (Peter Reid wrote the following list)
- Comfort, but not a life without pain
- Joy, but not a life without sorrow
- Fairness, but not a life without injustice
- Power, but not a life without weakness
- Victory, but not a life without conflict
- Presence, but not a life without loneliness
- Blessing, but not a life without obedience
- Reward, but not a life without service
- Sufficiency, but not a life without faith”
What ideal are you holding on to today? What promise does God give us in that area?
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could gather a list of God’s promises in the comments? (click here to add one).