Being a parent has given me lots of clarity in life. It hit me at one point that, now, as a mommy, I can (attempt to) more clearly view things from God’s point of view. I know I’ll never have a tiny fraction of the knowledge he has, but as a parent, I can at least relate to how it feels to have a child you created. Before you’re a parent, you may think you have tons of opinions about parenting, but they may change when you actually have to walk in a parent’s shoes and make all the decisions yourself. Likewise, I feel like you can have lots of opinions about parenting children who are older than yours are, but only when your child actually grows to that age will you actually know and figure out how you feel best fit to parent and what to allow at that stage. In the same way, you can have lots of opinions about God, but being a parent with a dependent under me, the same way he has all of humanity under him, allows me a different perspective and helps me see things a little more like he might.
So armed with these insights, I’ve found several comparisons between us parenting our children, and God’s presence in our lives as our Creator. Maybe they’re obvious to you, but there’s some similarities that have only recently struck me as being God-constructed correlations.
For example, whenever I have to take something away from my toddler that could be dangerous to him, he wails so loudly and acts like it’s the end of his world. He throws his hands in the air and slams them to the floor in a vehement opposition to me limiting his exploration of the world. It is at times quite a production and a sight to behold. But, although I feel sympathy for his loss, and would love to let him keep playing with said sinister object, I know it’s what’s best for him- so he won’t get hurt- and I know he’ll be thankful for it later in life, if he’s at least able to make it through with all four limbs and two eyes intact. There’s a chance he may not get hurt while playing with such things, but it’s not a chance I’m willing to take. Similarly, God sometimes has to take away things from us, and we complain about it, even to him. These things God takes from us could be obviously bad for us, like friends who are ill influences that we’ll be able to appreciate in hindsight, or could be things we don’t understand at all, like a loved one at a young age, an event we’ll never be able to make sense of, even with the most profound human thought put into it. We just have to trust that God knows what’s best for us, has a plan, and is executing that plan, and we just have to learn to live without our grown up “toys.”
Another behavior I’ve observed lately from my son is his testing me while we’re at places I’m trying to teach him limits. At church, he lets out a constant, stringing uttering of “Aaaaah” sounds that he never makes anywhere else, probably because I’m gently shushing him, and he would like to see how much he can get away with. At story time, where he has to stay by me instead of having free range like he has at home, he starts showing other silly behaviors that he doesn’t do anywhere else, just to see, I feel, what is and isn’t acceptable for him to do. He dives backwards into me and looks at me upside down from my lap, then gets up and repeats this behavior over and over. Then, he lays on the carpet floor, doing belly down carpet angels on the public library floor. Again, quite a sight for me to get to see. And again, I feel he’s doing these things to test his world’s waters.
I could be wrong, but I like to relate this exploration phase in toddlers to times in our adult lives. Sometimes, I think back in life and feel dumb for doing silly things during earlier years. Sometimes I feel a pang of envy toward people who seemed to always have it all together, always went to church, kept God first, and never felt the need to explore the more ominous party life. But, maybe God makes people different, just like every toddler is way different in personality and learning style. Maybe some of us need to have that time in life with less stakes to test our worlds, see how much craziness our lives can handle. God probably doesn’t love watching us during this time, but when I compare it to me watching over my son’s behavior, I’m more confident God’s not angry at us for it, because I’m sure never angry at my son while he’s showing this healthy behavior and testing his limits. Instead, I am appreciating the psychology and behaviors that I observe and am at times highly amused at it. Sure, it’s more work for me, and it’d be way easier if he just sat there right beside me perfectly, but then I’d be even more worried about his inability to take risks. God’s not mad at me or looking at me as a foolish idiot who could never come back from my mistakes, and I would NEVER look at my own children that way, so I should never have that attitude toward myself or anyone else.
God will only allow as much in our lives as we can handle. Some people don’t get the time in adolescence to act goofy, as they’re already strapped down with too many responsibilities. I was lucky enough to have minimal responsibilities while I was in college, but instead of feeling guilty (my weakness) about using my idle time less than productively, I am instead going to try to look at it from God’s point of view, looking at me as a child, the same way I see my child figuring out his life. This helps me make sense of our lives and appreciate all the lessons God has thrown in there for me!