Why Is Everything Still Not Enough?

Our Sunday contemporary worship service was well underway. The praise band was rock’n and our pastor was Fired Up! 

Pastor Rodney’s sermon was on the Biblical principle of sacrificial giving and stewardship. But this particular Sunday, even though the entire worship service was designed to draw me into a meaningful experience with God, I was admittedly distracted.

A Bad Case of the Cranky Squirmies

Sitting one row in front of me was 18 month-old, Johnny and his mom. His bright red hair could be seen bobbing up and down over his mother’s shoulder as she tried to have him sit on her lap for the service. We were about 15 minutes into the hour service and Johnny was coming down with a bad case of the cranky squirmies.

I could see his red haired cowlick sneaking and peeking up from one side of his mom and then briefly disappearing only to reappear on her other side. Finally, Johnny turned around to face his mom and the rest of the congregation and revealed his bright sky blue eyes which were twinkling with the promise of great mischief. His verbal glee was muted by a red, white and blue plastic pacifier, which he held tightly in his mouth.

His mom was visibly uncomfortable, undoubtably frustrated and probably a little embarrassed.  She fought a brave and gentle fight as she tried to corral her18 month-old wiggle worm. To her credit, throughout the struggle she tried to remain focused on Rodney’s sermon and never became outwardly upset.

Everything’s Within Your Grasp

I noticed that Johnny held a prize possession firmly in his grasp. In his little right hand was his comfort blanket. Johnny’s blanket was fuzzy and looked warm. It was a bit worn and dirty from Johnny’s constant companionship. One look at it and you could tell that they traveled everywhere together.

On the floor beside Johnny’s mom was her Johnny support backpack. About halfway through the service, she reached down for Johnny’s sippy cup of juice. She hoped its sweet contents might broker a truce in her struggle to keep him from climbing up and perching on her head.

With a great deal of empathy and admitted personal amusement, I observed Johnny briefly unplugged his pacifier and considered taking a sip from his cup. At the last minute he must have decided that it was easier to be mobile with his pacifier, so he tossed down the spill-proof cup into the aisle. He expertly replaced his pacifier into his mouth and with blanket in hand decided to try to reach the summit of Mt. Mommy.

Though all the toddler induced drama, I understood the folly of Johnny’s actions and began to relate more and more with him. He had in his immediate possession nearly every conceivable comfort item in his 18 month world. Johnny had the most loving, warm and comfortable seat in the entire sanctuary–his mom’s lap. He had his security blanket, his pacifier and his favorite mug that was filled with his favorite libation. Johnny was the king of his kingdom, but yet he was still not satisfied. Why is everything still not enough for us?

An Over 40’s View of Toddlerhood

Could it have been that Johnny was feeling weighed down by all his worldly possessions that were working to keep him content, but confined? Was he straining against the invisible bars of his 18 month-old, golden life cage of his own construction? Was his longing for freedom and discovery greater than his desire to be loved and cared for by the most important woman in his life? Couldn’t poor, young, Johnny see that he already had it all? Yet, even with everything important within his grasp, Johnny was definitely not satisfied. He was on a mission and nothing or no one was going to hold him back!

OK, maybe I was projecting a bit of my own middle-aged angst toward little Johnny. But it did make me consider how often I willingly chose to drop my own contentment in my lifelong vain quest for the unquantifiable or unachievable “more.” More what? More anything and everything.  I want it now or else I might be required to pitch a fit!

There is a wonderful lyric from a Sheryl Crow song that says, “It’s not about what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got!” Obviously, Johnny and I both haven’t fully learned that life lesson yet.  It’s his first time in class.  I’ve been held back to retake this lesson many times.

Thanks for Everthing I Need

My take-away from this Sunday’s service was not about sacrificial giving as was intended (sorry Rodney, it’s tough to compete against cute kids) but instead I learned a little more about what it means to be appreciative and grateful for the many gifts and pleasures I’ve been given. I’ve certainly been given more than I deserve.

Johnny was not able to scale to the peak of his mother’s head. Finally, he decided to rest peacefully in his mother’s arms, hold his blanket, suck on his pacifier and contemplate his next move.

Mentally, I joined with him… contemplating my next move and wishing I had my blanket and juice.

Thank God for Johnny and his mom. I learned a little about my struggles with wanting more by watching theirs. 

I also thank God that no matter how much I struggle, whine and squirm, God never looses His temper with me. He waits patiently for me to just snuggle in and to look around and finally appreciate that maybe God’s love is all I really need to be truly satisfied.  Everything and anything but that will never be enough.

Thanks for the lesson Johnny. Sorry Johnny’s mom if my smiling encouraged him. See you next Sunday!

Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


About Andrew W Dix, MS, BCC
Author, Board Certified Executive Business Coach, Trainer, Reiss Motivation Profile Master and Private Pilot. Expertise in motivational intelligence, leadership development, strengths, management, coaching, and change management. Available for keynote addresses.

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