This is the week of our annual “school’s out” beach trip. The tradition began several years back when I was teaching preschool and desperately needed a break at the end of the season. I packed up my kids (then 11 and 3) and brought them to my favorite place for a week of just…time. Time to play and rest and have fun with no cares. We’ve missed a year or two along the way, but here we are again. This year, I have a 17 year old and a 9 year old (my, how time flies!) and a bonus 17 year old.
Yesterday, it was decided that we had all gotten way too much sun the day before, so we opted for activities that were indoors or under the shade. Our first stop was at Wal-Mart for some “I got too much sun” essentials. In this case, that included moisturizing lotion with sunscreen, lip balm and a watermelon.
As soon as we got in the door, the 9 year old announced that he’d like to buy a car he had seen earlier in the week. I knew he only had $5 left, so I told him no. I wanted him to have money in case he saw something at one of the other places we were going. I tried reasoning with him, reminding him that there are Wal-Marts everywhere and we could surely get that car another time. Finally, I had to put my foot down and just say no. He was livid. He crossed his arms and pouted. He wouldn’t speak. And when he started talking again, his attitude was quite nasty. He was SO angry that I didn’t let him spend his money. I felt bad that he was so upset, but I was doing it for him. Because I knew the chances were good there would be something better if he waited.
We took off on our adventures and, with time (and some…ummm…encouragement from me…), his attitude improved. We opted to walk the very shady trails at Myrtle Beach State Park. The trail dumped us out into a parking lot, not too far from the pier, but quite a little hike to the car. We walked to the pier, hoping for a nice place to cool off. We stepped inside to the welcome blast of air conditioner ad discovered they had a nice gift shop. We browsed while we cooled off.
As I was looking at the typical beachy souvenirs, I noticed my little one lingering in the same place. He had discovered pirate toys. After much debate, he settled for a play set that has a handful of plastic men (think plastic army men, except pirates) and a cannon. As he dug out his money to pay, I reminded him that just a couple hours earlier, he was completely ticked off at me for not letting him buy a car. He admitted that I was right and apologized.
As I was having that conversation with my boy, God made sure the lesson wasn’t lost on His often impatient child. He reminded me of the times that I was clinging to a thing so tightly that my knuckles were white, all while He was telling me to put it down because He had something better in store. Sometimes, it’s obvious. We cling to old, broken or hurtful things, thinking we may never get anything better. Other times, though, the things He asks us to give up seem to be fine. We often fret or fight, not understanding – just like my boy and the car. But, if we’ll be obedient and wait on His timing, He’ll give us the better thing. Because He’s good. And He loves us. And He knows what we don’t.
So. What are you clinging to? Is it something God has told you to put down? Trust Him enough to hand it over. I promise, He’ll either give it back or replace it with something better. And you’ll be glad you did.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.