Last night I felt like God told me to grow up.
I have realized I often approach life with with a child-like mindset (but not in the good way). I want things to be easy, fair, and fun. I want my Heavenly Father to provide for my every need and want. Maybe my childhood was too good...
When things don't go as I think they should, I feel hurt, wounded, disillusioned. I want to sulk. Eventually my hope recovers, but last night I realized my hope is in things becoming just how I want them to be.
My childlike fantasy is that life is supposed to be easy, fair, and fun. That is what my hope is in. I am waiting for life to be like that.
That's not going to happen.
My childhood was very good, but as I got older I realized in more profound ways that life was (and is) difficult sometimes. When I was a child my parents took care of everything in my life, but as I grew they of course allowed me to take on more and more responsibility. When I was 5, it was easy to grant my every wish (a Disney movie and a Pound Puppy). As an adult, my parents can't grant my every wish (to get my counseling license and start a family), and it would be absurd if they could.
The Bible says we're supposed to come to the Father like children, with childlike faith, but I sometimes view God like I viewed my parents when I was a child. I expect God to grant my every wish. I'm the spiritual equivalent of Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
But like a wise father, God has given me what I've needed. He's provided for me in every area of life - sometimes lavishly and sometimes sparsely. He's taught me gratefulness, given me empathy for others, and led me to places of humility and reliance on Him. He's rescued me from unhealthy relationships, unhealthy situations, and unhealthy states of mind. He's equipped me for the life He's called me to.
But I want easy, fair, and fun.
Last night I felt like God was telling me to GROW UP. This is life. We're adults. No one said it was easy or fair or fun. There are easy, fair, fun times, but for that to be the goal in life is unrealistic and childish (in the bad way). And for some reason, this helped me. This realization that it's time to stop acting like a child. To face the world with the confidence that comes from a firm foundation of faith in Jesus.
Not that I haven't been doing this for years, but I still feel the temptation to crawl into my little shell of how things should be and it's time to get over that.
I was thinking about this verse from Romans 5:3-4 and I was wondering how character produces hope. And then I realized I need to see the distinction between expectation and hope. Unmet expectations are the cause of much disappointment and pain, but hope never truly dies - it is reborn over and over again. Hope is reborn from the experience of living life, seeing God's goodness even in the midst of struggle, and having faith that in the end everything really does turn out well, regardless of what we must endure now. Expectations are for children; hope is for adults. It's time to grow up, to no longer be a girl full of precarious expectations, but a to be a woman, brimming with hard-won hope.