It’s all about self-control. And about love.
Our whole lives worth of personal struggles find their way back to self control: exercise, dieting, keeping my heart from wandering. They are all issues of self-control. Our lives drip with the need to continuously bring ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit.
That’s why as, last week, my six year old tantrumed for some forgotten catalyst and I walked her out of the public place we were in, I understood that this was a simple battle of wills and a battle of self-control. She screamed and pulled and I sat down across from her at a picnic bench outside.
Discipline when frustrated.
Control when angry.
Calm when upset.
“I’ll sit with you all day until you calm down and we can talk.” I told her.
No good. No good at all. She was just crazy-angry. I waited and she screamed. I waited some more and she yelled some more. Her anger and frustration had taken different iterations of words, physical actions and tears in the last 20 minutes and I could see she was wearying by the circles under her eyes.
“I’m just SO MAD!” She yelled and pounded a fist on the table. Her tears were angry.
I took a deep breath and saw the little girl in her eyes. And I knew she was me, not just at age six, but me now. When I pound my fist and want my way, when I stomp and scream and make everyone around me embarrassed because of my behavior.
“You can hit me and kick me and scream at me all you want. But I will still be your Mama and I will still love you.”
Something in her tiny body broke.
“Really?” She asked. Her tears were turning from anger to relief. “After ALL of that, you’ll still love me?”
And He comes over to where we sit and He scoops us up and He carries us close and whispers, “After all of that, I will still love you. I will always love you.”
I will sit with you until you are calm.
I will be here when you are out of control.
I will be even when you are angry.
And I will always, always love you even when you don’t seem to love Me.