Showdown

It will never be made into a movie, though it was a battle for the ages. I entered the struggle more out of curiosity than anything, but the longer the conflict waged, the more I realized that I had to win. Suddenly, future battlegrounds were at stake. I could not afford to lose.

It was an epic showdown of me vs. the kid. A mere baby really, somewhere before 12 months old. That cute little bundle of answered prayer who never took naps almost took me down, almost demolished me. I had to stay strong. I had to keep it together. I couldn’t snap. I had to outlast her. I could not let her win. Sheer curiosity had started it, but nothing but determination and a heaping dose of extreme patience saw it to the end.

To say she was strong-willed doesn’t quite do her justice, but I desperately needed sleep and I didn’t sleep well when she was next to me. I had to nip that little desire of hers in the bud. What her tenacious little baby brain didn’t know is that I am an experienced champion stubbornista—especially when sleep is on the line. Even so, I entered the fight of my life unaware of what I was truly up against.

It was the middle of the night. I awoke to her crying. In a dazed, sleepy fog, I went to her. I held her. She calmed down. I put her back in her crib. She stood up. Arms reaching for me. Crying. I gently laid her back down and rubbed her head softly. She got back up, arms reaching for me, crying. I gently laid her back down again. As she got up again, arms reaching for me, I stupidly decided, assuming it would only be a few more ups and downs, to see how many times this would happen before she stopped.

47 times.

Do you hear what I’m saying?

That baby girl got back up 47 times before she finally gave in, stayed down and submitted to dreamland. Forty-seven freaking times! She showed no signs of giving up at all. She kept at it without yielding until she simply didn’t get up one more time.

I was in awe of her. Also a little bit frightened. I became acutely aware in bright-eyed wonder of what lay before me if I didn’t figure out how to manage this pint-sized force of nature.

But…

I won!

Zip-a-dee doo-dah, zip-a-dee a… 

I had started off with an assured “ok kid, let’s see what you’ve got” which changed to “oh my gosh, is she ever going to stop? why won’t she stop?” to “Almighty God in Heaven, she’s trying to destroy me. Help!” After what seemed an eternity in the dark of night, I finally persevered. I showed her who’s boss. Yeah, that’s right.

The next night there was another uprising, but she surrendered fairly quickly without too much of a fight. I miraculously managed to remain calm through both nights and we never had that particular battle again.

Since then, she has done a fine job of putting me through my paces with many more battles of the wills. It has been exhausting to hold the line so often, but I have learned through trial and error better ways to engage with her personality so we don’t have to constantly be in conflict. In return, she gradually responded over the years with much less of a stand. There were definitely times I wanted to give up and just let her have her way. What would be the harm just this once? But with someone with an iron clad will like hers, the repercussions of giving in would be too far-reaching and life would become miserable for all of us.

Life sure has enough battle of the wills to go through, doesn’t it? But we could be on either side at any given moment, sometimes we have to stand our ground and sometimes we have to submit. Figuring out which is which from situation to situation might take a little wisdom. Sometimes you’ll have to stand your ground against things like addiction, temptations, power trips, control, manipulation, and people who won’t stop until you stop them. It’s not an easy task, but the stand must be taken because the battle will rage on, day after day, night after night, as long as you keep giving in. Peace will be hard to come by until you decide that thing simply cannot happen anymore.

On the other hand, sometimes we fight against God for so long, we need to choose to stop and lay down and rest. Some of us can’t help ourselves. We need to test and make sure He’s with us, that He is indeed stronger. That He won’t give up. That we can trust Him to love in spite of our defiance. At some point though, we need to accept that when He says He will give us rest, that is what He is patiently working to do in us. Stop pushing back and let Him give you rest.

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