Can't I at least have it in black?
“The black version won’t be available for another two weeks,” the sales guy says. I shuffle my feet, looking down and scowling at concrete floor, surprisingly disappointed.
“Okay,” I sigh. “We’ll take it in the regular stainless steel.” And the sales guy taps away on his computer, setting up delivery for our new dishwasher later that week.
See, our old dishwasher - and I do mean old - had been groaning along for quite some time, with a couple of broken bits on one rack and a dice roll as to whether or not the glassware would actually rinse clean. But, I have other things I want to spend money on and not enough money to go around for all the things. We need a new refrigerator more than a new dishwasher, to be honest. And a new stove. With all our major appliances nearing their replacement date, I had started dreaming about my dream kitchen. I love things gleaming and gorgeous, and the novelty of “new” gets me giddy. I had just started to get excited. My hubby and I perused the appliance displays a few days before and decided to save up for the newest and latest and greatest models, starting with the refrigerator. In black stainless steel. ‘Cause it looks so cool.
Two days ago, the dishwasher went from groaning to giving up the ghost, jumping to the top of the replacement list and quick. Handwashing dishes for a family of four sucks and ain’t nobody got time for that. So here we are in the big box appliance store replacing the first of the major kitchen items sooner than we want. And not in the color that I want. Which means the stove and the refrigerator won’t be in the color I want when we replace them either ‘cause it’s weird when the major appliances don’t match.
The argument with God begins behind my eyes, which are a little bit teary and that’s just annoying. I know I’m silly for getting all emotional over a dishwasher color. This is a First World Problem of the Highest Order. And yet…
God, I don’t want to buy a dishwasher right now. We have other places we need to spend that money and we really want a little time to save up first. Besides, we want to start with the fridge. We had a plan! Why did the dishwasher have to break now?
Couldn’t You have kept it going for a while longer? I mean, give us a break! Haven’t we been penny-pinching long enough yet? Do You have to stress us out on the budget again this month? Couldn’t You have given us time to get ready?
And for crying out loud, if we absolutely have to do this and spend the money and squeeze the budget again, can’t I at least get what the one I really want? Can’t I at least have my new dishwasher in black? ‘Cause now all my new stuff has to match the stupid dishwasher and I want something else. Something cool and really nice instead of second-best.
It’s not fair! [insert foot stomp and arms crossed here]
Yup…that’s me. Spiritually stuck in the Terrible Twos and pitching a temper tantrum over the color of my dishwasher.
I recognize the absurdity of it right away, and yet my emotions still roil under the surface, betraying my heart. I’ve been here before, thrashing on the spiritual floor while my Father stands over me, His loving gaze never changing while He waits for me to decide I’m finished. I’ll wail in agony over all that’s trivial in the Grand Scheme Of Things, just because I think it’s MINE. My dream kitchen. What my friends will think of me and my house when they come over. My sense of security and pride when I have nice things.
Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. I’ve had these tantrums before, in some seasons almost daily, over everything I love to think is MINE.
As always, God patiently waits for me to take a breath before whispering calm and firm, “Who’s in charge?”
Me, me, me!! My emotions scream the answer I want, not the answer I know is true. I want to be in charge! I want things to go the way I want them to go! I want all the stuff and I want it the way I want it and I want it now!
But I know the Truth and I know He knows best. He gets to decide what my life looks like, but darn it - if I have to give up control of the what and the when, can’t I at least have control over what color it is? Some little straw for me to grasp and wave around in my toddler fist like I’m oh-so-important?
He gently reaches down, unwinds my grasping fingers and lets my childish straw desires fall to the floor. I look down at my feet, still a little teary, while He takes my now-empty hand in His.
“Child,” He says, “you can’t hold My hand when you’re holding anything else. Not even what color your dishwasher is.”
See, there’s this thing in me that wants so bad to decide what’s mine to be in control of and what God will decide for me. I know He wants me to grow up and mature, to be strong enough to handle some things on my own. I am perfectly capable of handling quite a bit, thank you very much. God is the Perfect Father, and maturity is the goal in the end. But unlike the growing-up our kids do so they’ll fly away independent, spiritual maturity leads us deeper into dependence on our Father. Getting out of the Spiritual Terrible Twos means leaning on God for more, not less.
My personality and nature pull me away and bend me towards independence. I feel it every moment. And so, to grow me up, God sometimes reminds me that even the small things in life fall under His sovereignty. Not that black stainless steel kitchen appliances are evil or would be bad for me, necessarily. But asserting my own independence and wrestling with Him for control of any part of my life is deadly.
Okay. I take a deep breath, look into His eyes, and agree that He loves me and He knows best.
My new dishwasher arrives three days later looking great. I’m happy and content, because hey! It’s a new dishwasher that actually works and doesn’t have any broken parts and it’s all shiny and pretty right out of the box. I thank my Father with a truly grateful heart. I have dishes and dishwashers and a family of four to make a mess of my kitchen. I had the money in the bank to purchase something new when the old one broke - I didn’t have to handwash for weeks or settle for something far less. God is gracious and God is good to me.
So, Lord, I say to Him, when we do save up enough for a new refrigerator, since I won’t be getting the black stainless steel, can I at least have the one with the touch screen TV display on the front?