"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?
Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel." -James 4:1-2
For months, everyone's been telling me that three is a harder age than two. Still, the intensity with which you are willing to battle over the smallest of things continues to surprise me. This morning, it was the long-sleeve Ravens shirt you were determined to wear, even though it's supposed to approach 90 degrees this afternoon.
"I want to be cold," you wailed, even after I suggested a compromise: you could put the long-sleeve shirt on top of a short-sleeve one until you got too hot.
A few times recently, at the height of your distress over losing a battle of the wills, you've stubbornly declared, "I want God to take the whole world apart," as if to say that if you can't have your way, the entirety of creation might as well be destroyed.
It's made me smile to hear you say that, even in the midst of my frustration and, yes, anger with your outbursts. It's an apt way to describe it, that desperate desire for control we all feel from time to time. Sometimes, it really does seem like if we can't have things our way, the world should just come to an end.
I'm trying to remember this Ellie-girl, when our battles arise, that though it feels like you and I are at odds, like I simply need to win, the truth is that we are both fighting the same thing: the cravings of hearts that want to control. You want to wear sparkly black shoes and white socks with jean shorts, to eat chocolate for lunch. I want peace, quiet, order.
I can delude myself into thinking that my desires are more valid and therefore more important. Perhaps they are. I've had about 30 extra years to refine them. But the deeper truth is this: we are both desperate sinners, and we both in desperate need of a Savior.
If you being three can teach us both this, it will be a good year indeed.