When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – Corinthians 13:11
When my daughter was still a toddler, she had a favorite stuffed doll. She called it Baby Pepsi. In some disgusting way, I guess she saw my love and appreciation for carbonated fructose and decided that would be an endearing name for the baby doll she loved so much. As usual, when arriving at my house from her mother’s house, she carried her doll tightly under her arm, while in her hands she carried her weekend bag of clothes.
Shortly after her mother left, she ran to me and burst into tears. It had been a rough few days behaviorally for her and she had been disciplined a few times. She handed me Baby Pepsi and exclaimed to me that this favorite doll of hers has to live here now at my house. Also, I was not to give it to her Mom. As punishment this doll had been taken away a few times and she couldn’t bear to keep losing it. I was immediately amazed at the level of emotion being displayed here. She was communicating to me that she would rather not see her baby doll as often and know that it was safe and sound at my house, then risk losing it because of her behavior. After visiting with Baby Pepsi a few more months, she was forgotten. She has remained stored away for years.
I’m reminded of the words of John Wesley about the above scripture. “In our present state we are mere infants in point of knowledge, compared to what we shall be hereafter. I put away childish things – Of my own accord, willingly, without trouble.”
It seems that part of this circumstance was about control. By bringing her doll to my house to stay, it could no longer be a bargaining chip. She could no longer be hurt by that loss. It didn’t take her long to grow out of her attachment to that doll once she went without regularly. Perhaps I am guilty of wanting control over things I should easily be outgrowing. As I sat frustrated over communication channels at work the other day, I had the realization that I am frustrated over things I will never be able to control. I allow things to hurt and don’t recognize that I am being self absorbed and not seeing the lesson in what is going on. I am frustrated over things that are perhaps teaching me discipline and patience. It seems like yesterday my life was turned upside down by circumstances I could not control. I lost a lot in order to have the ability to move on with my life in a productive way. Once I learned to forgive and learn from, as well as admit my mistakes, I could move forward. Once I realized I couldn’t keep my emotions or vices on a shelf for later, I was truly able to move on and grow. Most importantly, once I learned that I am not in control of anything, I was able to learn humility and patience.
I lose sight of these things from time to time, probably more often then I care to admit, but sometimes I think back on Baby Pepsi, and I remember, I might be hindering my personal growth by holding on to something I need to outgrow.