Being a new dad is great, and it comes with a lot of new learning opportunities. One of those lovely, blessed, very enjoyable opportunities is teaching your child how to sleep. Now, for those of you who either do not have children, or have forgotten the experience over the years, one way that this is accomplished is by placing your child in his bed and leaving the room. The child will then raise quite a fit, not wanting to be left all alone in a dark room, and begin the process of what is called crying it out.
Now, we opted for a slightly modified approach to the traditional "cry it out" method. Nevertheless, tonight our little boy cried for about an hour and a half before finally succumbing to sleep.
What is the learning opportunity from this you ask?
I began to think about myself, and the situations that I am currently facing. Right now I am somewhat unhappy with my job, and let's just say that I have had the general feeling of discomfort with life lately. I've been absolutely consuming self-improvement books, from topics on finance to career to health, all in the name of trying to remedy whatever it is that has been causing this grief.
I realized then that I have two options for dealing with this pain. I can tell myself that I need to be content and just be thankful for what God has given me, or I can take this all as sign from God that maybe this is not where I am supposed to be at the moment. Now, don't get me wrong I am extremely thankful for everything that God has given me. My family, my job, a safe place to live... I could go on and on, but still I have this feeling that something is not quite right. The side that I am leaning towards then is the one that will probably cause even more unease.
So, back to our little guy.
The reason that we let him cry is so that he learns to put himself to sleep. Sleep is good for him. When he doesn't sleep, life becomes even more difficult.
He needs his sleep.
Now the tricky part is, he doesn't understand this. He doesn't realize that sleep is good for him. In fact, he may even be thinking that we have abandoned him in that room for good. All he knows is that he is alone, in the dark, and he's angry.
When I translate all of this information over to my situation (and perhaps you can do something similar for whatever life has thrown your way) I see that I am feeling alone, in the dark, and maybe not angry but certainly not overjoyed. Though I feel this way, I have no way of comprehending the gravity and scale of what God is trying to accomplish in my life through all of this. All I can do is trust that he is still there, and that he is only doing this so that later I can reap the benefits of "crying it out."