We’re Not Too Old For Temper Tantrums

18 Oct

I stopped to pick up lunch at a restaurant with one of those outdoor playgrounds. A little boy was inside with his grandmother and he wanted to go out and play. Problem was – the playground was wet from just being cleaned and was closed until it could dry up a bit. This did not satisfy Little Man.

source: thinkstockphotos.com

The manager of the restaurant was nearby and heard his begging to go outside and play. He came over and tried to explain to Little Man that the playground was wet and it would not be safe for him to play on it right now. The boy insisted he knew how to be careful and wouldn’t fall or get hurt, pleading with the manager and his grandmother to let him go play.

Much to his dismay, neither of them gave in.

As he walked out the door, his face spanned the range of emotions from disappointment to anger to full-blown crocodile tears. He stomped his foot, crossed his arms, stuck his bottom lip out, and sulked to the car as the tears began to fall. A few minutes later, as I walked to my car, he had worked himself up to a good, solid cry.

Oh, the disappointment! Toddlers don’t handle it well, and neither do us grown ups.

As John Maxwell defines it, disappointment is the gap between our expectations and reality. Disappointment is the result of us expecting one thing and something else happening instead.

This little guy expected to play on the playground. The reality of a wet playground prevented him from doing so. Thus resulting in a temper tantrum and disappointment.

Disappointments like that are fairly easy to get over when you’re a child. The disappointment lasts only until the next thing to catch your attention comes along. Grown up disappointments seem to stick around a little longer than that. Probably because we wear them like a blanket wrapped around our shoulders on a cold day, not wanting to let them go.

I’ll be the very first to admit – I do not handle disappointment well at all. At all.

When I want something and I don’t get it, I get upset. It doesn’t matter if someone tries to explain why I can’t have/do/be/go/see/own it, I still want it. Even if the reason I can’t have/do/be/go/see/own it is for my own good – I still get miffed. And many times, I throw my own little temper tantrums.

Pouting. Sulking. Getting angry. Lashing out. Punishing the disappoint-er. You might even stomp your foot if you’re really mad!

We’re not much different than the toddler, are we? Tantrums are not pleasant in children; they are even less pleasant in grown ups.

Imagine what God must think??

“I’ve given you all of this {spreading His arms open wide to show us the virtually unlimited blessings He’s already given to us} and it’s still not enough? Good thing I love you so much.”

Maybe God is not allowing you to have that job right now because a better one is on its way.

Maybe God allowed your relationship to end because He has someone much, much better in mind for you.

Maybe God is withholding something you want because it’s just not going to be good for you.

So, how do we deal with disappointment? You can still pout, sulk, and get mad if it makes us feel better – but I doubt it will truly make us feel better. Instead, may I suggest that we pause, thank God for everything we do have, and remember how very blessed we are.

Disappointments will always find their way to us – giving into to the disappointed feelings is our choice. We’re not too old for temper tantrums, but let’s be too wise to let them rule our day. God has better things in store!

Wishing you a terrific Thursday!!


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