Let's be honest. There are a lot of big feelings in our house these days. A lot of big. loud. fierce. feelings. And most of them end up coming from the red time out chair tucked into the corner of Oliver's bedroom.
And the thing about life in the South Bay is that our windows are open most afternoons.
Which means our whole neighborhood is privy to the big. loud. fierce. feelings coming from the red time out chair.
Also, Target may or may not have gotten a dose this morning.
So that's humbling.
And here I am this afternoon, as my toddler and all his big feelings are finally at peace and at rest... wondering about the work that we are trying to accomplish in our tiny person and in ourselves.
I've watched him fight and wrestle with himself to tame those big feelings.
I've watched him shudder and give himself over to those same big feelings.
I've heard him on his long march down the hall to time out, assure me that "I'm going to do time out de white way."
I've heard him on that same long march, shriek "No!!! I NOT!!! I NOOOOTTTT!" in a tailspin of anger and frustation.
And I've felt that same push and pull well up in me... often at the very same moment that he is losing his mind.
The tension between who I am called to be and all the anger and frustration that wells up in my chest when I see those tiny fists clench... again... and angry tears well up in those blue eyes.
And here is the gym where Oliver and I are building muscle together. On the treadmill of his frustration, both of us are learning and practicing and succeeding and failing at mastering our big feelings.
There is a temptation, have you felt it too? That urge to give myself over to my big feelings. To let go of the reins, and free fall with my anger.
And I can literally see it in Oliver's eyes, those moments where he resigns his self-control, and lets himself go, and we are left picking up the pieces together when that anger is spent.
On so many afternoons in our house we are working that treadmill together.
Strengthening those muscles.
Those muscles that chose not to give ourselves over to big. loud. fierce. feelings.
Those muscles that resist the lie buried so deeply that we often don't even realize we believe it.
The lie that says, "You are a victim of your feelings. You are the puppet and your feelings pull the strings."
It will not be so in our house, buddy.
And I am praying it will not be so in my heart.
And daddy and I are praying it will not be so in your and Milo's hearts either.
And so we are waging war on this lie together, with you and for you.
So many of those battles are won or lost in less than a second. That breath of a second, where we decide that we will either give ourselves over to anger or stand and fight. The rest is merely fall out from the decision made in a blink of an eye.
Sweet boy, I want you to hear the truth. You are not a victim of your feelings. That is not how or who you were made to be. And it is an ugly lie. You are so much more than that. You, with the blue eyes, and the silly cowlicks, and the fierce determination... You were not made to be subject to your big feelings. You, my brave boy, were made to feel deeply and passionately, and to wield those big feelings in such a way that people feel safe and loved and protected by you.
It is a daunting task, Love. Taming those feelings. Learning to wield the sword of anger in a way that is protective, rather than violent. And you were not meant to do it on your own. Buddy, here is what the Bible says... "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you... (John 14:26). He's not violent, He won't force his way in, Love, but if you invite Him to, He can teach you. And you know the things he teaches? The fruit that comes of all those lessons? "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
And Buddy, God's given you to us as well. And we are going to give you every tool that we can to empower you and strengthen you and give you the courage and the skill to tame those feelings. To use them. To wield them.
We love you Buddy. You and all your big feelings. We are fighting for you and alongside you.