Blog, Parenting, Suffering

The strong-willed child in all of us

The strong-willed child in all of us Hope With Ruth Podcast

This episode is also available as a blog post: https://ruthclemence.com/2022/02/05/the-strong-willed-child-in-all-of-us/

Have you ever met a strong-willed child? They are determined to do something regardless of what others say. It seems nothing can stop them. I see it in my young children as they stretch boundaries or try something new. Parents have to tread carefully and assess each situation. Is this a teaching opportunity? Actions have consequences and they need to learn. Is it dangerous and requires immediate intervention? When we make a decision on behalf of our children, it may seem unfair to them. Their attitude and response may be a physical or verbal outburst – big emotions. They may go quiet, cry and sulk. Sometimes we misjudge and get it wrong, but generally, we put these boundaries in place out of love for them.

I have come to see that there is a strong-willed child inside all of us. It might not look like a tantrum on the floor of a supermarket or howling great big sobs that would rival any Academy award-winning actor. Yet, it’s that tendency to want what we want. We are set on getting our way, so we resist listening to others. We charge on ahead, believing we know what is best for us, that person, that circumstance. Our attitudes, thoughts, actions and/or words may be entirely justifiable in our own eyes. However, if someone challenges us, says ‘no’, or gently rebukes us, the defences come out, the drawbridge pulls up, communication breaks down and we stand in our castles with arrows pointing at the opposition.

Isn’t that how we often see and treat God? Isn’t he a mean parent not giving us what we want? Or worse, is He a neglectful parent, ignoring our needs and wants completely? Does He care? Doesn’t He just impose a set of rules and demand that we follow? Isn’t He spoiling our fun? I’m sure many of us have thought or said that. But I think we need to re-think our perception of God as a Father.

Depending on your view of a father or of God, it may be hard to picture Him as a loving Father. I grew up without a kind father. My biological father was absent by choice before I was born. I never experienced the love of a caring, nurturing dad growing up. Yet, I knew the love of a praying Mum who pointed me to Jesus. From my littlest years, I knew God as my Father. Knowing His love for me is something I am praying to know more of. Each time, I am taken back to the good news of Jesus Christ.


A willing, loving Father

God is the loving parent toward a world of strong-willed children. He demonstrated His love toward us in Jesus, the Son, who gave up everything willingly, for us (Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus surrendered His life on this earth for people who were against Him. We are all against God by our very nature. This is what sin is. It’s putting something above the rightful place of God in our lives. We all do it. And the only One who can repair the brokenness between us and God the Father is Jesus. He has been with the Father since the beginning (John 1:2). Jesus is the only one who can do it because He became just like us in every way but was without sin (Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15).

God came down into our world of selfishness and pain, in our hopeless state, and He lived the perfect life we couldn’t live. He was crucified because the punishment of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Him (Romans 6:23). He took our sin upon Himself so that we might be healed now and for eternity, and die to sin and live for righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:11; Isaiah 53:5).

Be assured that whatever situation you find yourself in today, there is a loving Father and He has made a way for you to come to Him. Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

Watch this short video (under 2 minutes) from R.C. Sproul which helpfully explains our need for forgiveness and how God makes the way needed to come to him, through Jesus.
A song worth belting out!