Part Time Toddler

toddlertantrum Dr. Butner

Yesterday, as I was driving home from my office, an electronic sign caught my eye.  A daycare center on my daily commute route has one of those electronic billboard signs that changes to flash up multiple messages.  It’s the kind of thing that grabs your attention the first few times you see it, then fades into background scenery as your familiarity grows.

Unless something particularly unusual is posted.  Like yesterday.

Part Time Toddler” – the sign proclaimed.  I guess it caught my attention because I thought maybe it was a personal message to me.  It sure sounded familiar.  Turns out the next screen completed the statement – “Teacher Needed.”

For some reason, that phrase keeps rolling around in my head.  Part Time Toddler.  Truth is it wouldn’t be a stretch to print that on my personal-life-business card.

“Hi, I’m Dr. Roger Butner.  Full time Christian counselor.  Full time husband.  Full time dad.  Part time toddler.  Nice to meet you.”

This is not about beating my self up or wallowing or any other such nonsense.  Just an honest declaration that I can sometimes be extremely childish, petty, self-indulgent, and destructive.  Basically, a big toddler.  Not all the time, mind you.  And, praise be to God for His transforming grace, not even as much as I used to be only a couple years ago.  But I can still have my moments.

“My way.  Of course my way is the Right way!  You aren’t paying enough attention to ME!  Why do I have to do things I don’t feel like doing?  I don’t want to share.  Get out of my way.  Don’t try to help me – I can do it MYSELF!  Hurry up.  Meet my expectations.”

You get the idea.  Of course, I don’t usually say these things out loud.  That would sound, well… like some kind of big toddler, or something.  But I do say them with my mind and attitude and life.  It is the human condition in a fallen world.  I know I am not alone in this struggle.

Paul put it this way:

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

“So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”    – Romans 7:21-8:4

Part Time Toddler?  Well, yes.  Growing up in the grace, maturity, and fullness of Christ by the empowering leadership of His Holy Spirit?  You bet!!!  Good News?  Oh, I sure think so!

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