Our oldest daughter is now about three and a half, and one of the things we’re trying to work on at this point is whining. She has a pretty strong dramatic streak, and tends to play up any injury, physical or emotional, real or imagined. She is, after all, 3. But we’re trying to teach her that there are better ways to react to circumstances.
One recurring type of situation involves her thinking we’re taking away something she thinks she needs. For example, every once in a while when we’re just sitting down to dinner, she’ll notice that there isn’t any food on her plate yet. “Hey!” she’ll say, and point this out. I know, I’ll reply. I just haven’t given you any yet. At this she’ll start up a good fuss and whine, “But I need food! I need some,” thinking, I suppose, that we intend to starve her or something.
So I’ve recently introduced a new response to these small eruptions:
Repeat after me, I’ll say, and that gets her attention.
Mommy and Daddy know what I need…
“Mommy and Daddy know what I need…”
and I don’t need to worry about it…
“and I don’t need to worry about it.”
She’s starting to get the hang of this by now, and she usually finishes up smiling. So far it seems to be a decent way to assure her that she is, in fact, cared for and being taken care of. And to get her to stop fussing. 😉
So yesterday morning I’m going through my quick morning devotional before work, and the verse for the day was Matthew 6:31-33:
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NRSV)
And once again God uses a picture from my own relationship with my kids to remind me, and teach me more deeply, something about my relationship with Him. How many times have I worried about how some situation in my life was going to work out? How often do I let fears of job security linger a little too long? How often do I fret over a perceived lack of direction?
Repeat after me, God says. But strive first for the kingdom of God…
Lord, remind me every day to put your priorities before my own, trusting that you already know what I need and that you’ve got it covered better than I ever could on my own.