Saturday, June 4, 2011

Loosen your grip! The challenge of confronting selfishness

There are moments when she SHINES. I mean, really SHINES. She goes so far above and beyond what I think a 3 year old is capable of in their "world revolves around me" thinking (which is developmentally appropriate in some ways). She's had some of those moments recently, and when they happen, I whisper a silent prayer, "Oh God, root this type of generosity deep in her heart! May it become entrenched in who she is as your child and creation."
And then, of course, there are moments when I CRINGE. I absolutely want to crawl into a hole and stay there for long periods of time because I am so mortified. The selfishness of her sinful nature emerges and rears it's ugly head. "Oh Evangeline!! How could you?" The look she gives me after snatching a toy right out of the hands of her happily playing little brother, which leads him to hysterical crying and looking at her like she is some sort of mean and terrible monster, is almost creepy.
I know, I know. There isn't a child in the universe who hasn't done this same thing. We all have selfishness bound up in our hearts to one degree or another. But lately, the past 2 weeks, Eva has really been struggling with this. I have seen her literally, and figuratively, hold so tightly to her material possessions that I know it needs to be addressed. I remember vividly having this same struggle as a child and teen. I was relatively generous with my time- making cookies for someone, helping friends with their homework, editing papers, picking up and dropping off in my car, leading bible studies, and volunteering. But, I was not AT ALL that way with my "stuff"- my money, my clothes, etc. Looking back, I am so bothered by this. Why did I think it was so important? Why did I hold so tightly to it?
I don't want Evangeline to have this struggle. I want to give her opportunities as a 3 year old to know that our stuff isn't important. It doesn't bring us happiness. And, in fact, IT'S NOT OURS. The last few months in church we learned about stewardship- what does God have to say about how we spend our money? I think of the, "It Ain't Yours" sermon often. I remind Eva of it, too. I told her that all of our stuff is a gift from a generous God who allows us to take care of it, but expects us to be generous with our blessings. In the car, we talk A LOT, so I use it to my advantage. Selfishness has been the topic of the last month, at least. Eva pretty much never allows any more than 4 seconds of silence, so she isn't bothered by it :)
We saw tornado coverage on the news recently and she was horrified by all the "broken houses"- she wanted to know what those people were going to do and where all of the kids toys went. I took the opportunity to tell her that most of their things were lost and that many people won't have enough money to buy things to replace all the stuff that was lost and damaged. I asked her if she wanted to give some things to kids who don't have toys. She said yes, so we started in the basement and made our way to the main floor and then upstairs. We went through every single item and I asked her, "Give away or keep?" I didn't MAKE her give away anything- I told her, "Eva, I am not going to make you give anything away. I want you to think about each thing and decide how important it is to you and whether or not you really want or need to keep it." She made quick decisions about many things, but some required further pondering.
Her princess dress collection had me worried- she has 7. She wears them every single day- no exceptions. I spread them in a row on the floor. I said, "which one is your favorite?" We put that one aside to keep. I asked, "Do you think you could give one away?" Her head moved back and forth over the dresses, scanning each one and stopping occasionally to think harder. Finally, she looked up at me and said, "Little girls will really like these 2". She handed me two of the dresses. Then she said with a huge smile on her face, "AND CINDERELLA! A little girl will love Cinderella mom. And let's find the purse, and necklace, and gloves that go with her. Oh my! A little girl like me is going to love this!"
Cinderella is her favorite, and one of 2 dresses that she has all the accessories to match. I have to admit that I teared up at this precious glimpse into her heart.
Eva is learning, and it's a work in progress. I'll keep praying, and keep taking as many opportunities as I can to reinforce this in her. I know it's a long road because she is so much like me. Here goes- I'm going to embrace the journey.

1 comment:

Flinn said...

You are such an amazing mom Lauren! I love love live this so much!


We're the Wells family. We currently consist of Michael (husband and daddy), Lauren (wife and mama), Evangeline (daughter and princess), and Samuel (son and prince). We live a pretty simple life loving the many blessings that God grants us each and every day.
Mike is a genius carpenter/contractor and works throughout neighboring counties. Lauren stays at home with Eva and Sam most of the time, but works a few days a week as a therapist.
More than anything else, we love being together as a family- trips to the gardens, swimming at Grammie and Papa's house, and bike rides & walks are probably our most frequent activities. We're surrounded by our family (siblings and parents); they all live within 30 minutes of us!
That's us in a nut shell.
We're thankful you dropped by our site!