Written By Jay-S Tshabalala
It must have been on my 10th birthday that my uncle took me to Toys R Us and told me to pick out anything that I wanted. In theory, this should have been any child’s dream come true – to be unleashed into a toy store and allowed to pick any one thing that I wanted. But I clearly remember the anxiety that came over me at my uncle’s words.
I am usually an ‘in and out’ person when it comes to shopping, especially when I am just shopping for myself. However, on that day I spent what seemed like an eternity, painstakingly going through each aisle and every shelf trying to decide what to choose. My uncle must have sensed my distress because, after a while, he told me not to worry about my mum. To this day I have no idea how he knew what was troubling me. Maybe it was because we’re family or maybe he was perceptive enough to be able to read a child’s mind.
You see, even before we stepped into the store, I knew exactly what I wanted. My anxiety did not stem from being spoiled for choice. What caused my anxiety was the idea that my uncle would buy me what I wanted and I would get home and my mum would not approve of it. I love my uncle but, more importantly, I wanted my mum to take me shopping instead because then I would have walked right up to the toy I wanted and asked her if it was okay.
But my mum wasn’t there and so I was hopelessly wandering the aisles trying to find something that I felt my mum would like me to have for my birthday. My uncle went on to explain to me that my mother had purposely asked him to take me shopping because she was worried that with her constantly looking over my shoulder, I would not feel free to choose what I wanted.
Once my uncle explained everything to me, it didn’t take long for me to go to the exact aisle and shelf where my birthday present was waiting for me. You see for my ‘child self’, to hear my uncle tell me that I could get anything that I wanted was not enough. I needed to hear it from a parent, someone who cares for me on a day to day basis and wants what is best for me. I trusted my mum to get me something I wanted and what was best for me. Hearing from my uncle that my mum had asked him to accompany me meant that she trusted him – which meant that I could trust him as well.
It is moments like these that make me so grateful to our Heavenly Father for giving us good parents because they help us to understand the Father more. The Bible says that God is a Father who guides us. (Isaiah 64:8) As I trusted my mother to help me even in the smallest decisions, then how much more can I trust God the Father who is perfect?
This incident also helped me to understand the freedom that only God can give. Being free does not mean eliminating everything that hinders you. Having set boundaries or the guidance of a loving parent can make you free. Therefore when I think of our Father God being a loving father who guides us and disciplines us, I think of someone who, like my own amazing parent, wants what is best for me but with the bonus of being perfect in every way.
Some verses for further encouragement
2 Samuel 7: 14-15