The Spoiled Child in Me

2 Jul

Butterfinger BarHumorist Rhonda Rhea wrote on Facebook recently, “I was so hungry last night I thought about eating a vegetable. Don’t worry. Those three Butterfingers got me past the crisis.”

This is the same Rhonda who said earlier, “I’m starting a new diet. But wouldn’t you know it, now I’m discovering I’m diet food intolerant.”

LOL! Rhonda’s words reminded me of a food struggle I had last month with Three Musketeers Mint Bars® (Dark Chocolate). I put the movie-sized six-pack in the freezer, thinking I’d eat one once a week, sharing with my husband. Yeah right.

(This was just before I signed up for Weight Watchers Online!)

I am an adult. But lurking right beneath the surface of my adulthood is a stubborn, spoiled child.

What’s that spoiled child like? Here are some examples:

  • The spoiled child in me filled the candy dish with Dove® chocolates, rationalizing that she can eat just one wrapped chocolate at a time (yes … one each time she passed the coffee table).
  • The spoiled child went shopping even when there was no money in the checkbook, the Dave Ramsey-endorsed “envelope,” or anything of the kind.
  • The spoiled child nurtured every ache and pain like she was “dying,” instead of thinking positively and planning for exercise.
  • The spoiled child whined that there was no time for Bible reading … even though there was time enough for three sit-coms and a great movie.

Don’t judge me, Girlfriend … you’ve been there.Spoiled Child - Girl

Have you ever watched a spoiled child in action ~ selfishness, willfulness, maybe even tantrums? I watched a complete meltdown once. It was the mama melting down as her three-year-old’s reign of terror made everyone in Sears stare. The poor mother looked exhausted. But I think everyone within “Spoiled Child’s” screaming distance was rooting for the mama to do something. Not judging her … just sayin’ …  Instead, she wearily walked toward the door, leaving Sears with her child following her … screaming even louder.

Mom CorrectingIf you are a wise mom, how would you deal with a spoiled child?

If you are like me, you’d find the root of the problem, deal with bad behavior, teach truth and wisdom to correct bad behavior, explain how to deal with wrong urges/temptations, set boundaries (if necessary), and even reward good behavior. (Ok, I have to admit that I didn’t do that every time my boys misbehaved … but that was my goal.)

But I’ve been thinking … why don’t I deal with the spoiled child in me in the same way? That would look something like this:

How to Deal with the Inner Spoiled Child

  1. Get to the Root of the Problem -The attitudes and actions that a spoiled child manifests are symptoms of wrong thinking or beliefs in the heart. The heart is always the root of the problem. Even if there are rotten circumstances that instigate the behavior, a person always has a choice how to respond. We need to recognize that ~ whenever we are acting like a spoiled child, there is a heart problem in play. Usually, it’s something related with pride/selfishness, or something we want, or something not under God’s control, or a right we think we have (1 John 2:16)
  2. Deal with Bad Behavior – Face it. Bad behavior is sinful (either through ignorance or choice). God says we are to confess our sin (1 John 1:9) or agree with God about the nature of it, and repent ~ turn our backs on that sin, knowing that all sin grieves God.
  3. Discover Truth and Wisdom We can explore the scriptures to find specific verses that relate to our “spoiled child’s” behavior or attitudes. We need to understand what God wants us to do. We also need to understand the consequences of foolish versus wise choices. The book of Proverbs is helpful with that.
  4. Learn How to Conquer Temptations – I believe the battle is won or lost in our submission to God (or lack of surrender). Do we want what He wants, or what we want? Are we willing to say, “Yes, Lord”? Certainly, prayer is another key to victory … as well as abiding in Christ and being sensitive to what the Spirit of God is saying. And then acting on truth ~ just plain obeying! We might memorize some of those key scriptures we found, and use the Word of God to fight temptation, just as Jesus did (Matthew 4:1-11). We might also write scripts, or statements, to quote to ourselves  to encourage us to act wisely and in gody ways.
  5. Set Boundaries or Limits – We need to realize that we can be proactive and help ourselves in our struggles.  (What does this look like? Fill the candy dish with healthy snacks, or remove it entirely. Turn off the TV during a pre-determined time and have a quiet time. Don’t go shopping when there’s no money.) We don’t want to make “provision” to gratify sinful fleshly desires (Romans 13:14).
  6. Reward Good Behavior – There is nothing wrong with rewards. Jesus told a parable about a master’s reward for his faithful servant (Matthew 25:14-30). Sometimes, we can motivate a spoiled child to behave better with the promise of a reward. We adults aren’t really any different. Whatever our reward ~ keep it simple and appropriate ~ keep it in focus for better choices. (I have a “Choose Wisely” bracelet that I had made recently, and I wear it these days to help me focus.) Remember that one of the greatest rewards is pleasing God as we trust and obey Him.

The Spirit of God works within us to transform us to be more like Jesus, and to give us “fruit” that will counter our fleshly impulses. The inner Spoiled Child does not have to terrorize our lives. God can change our hearts and teach us how to submit to His Word and will.

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3 Responses to “The Spoiled Child in Me”

  1. shelleybea July 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Wow, Dawn, you hit right on with me in this blog.

    I stand in front of the fridge and have a full on fight with my spoiled child, with the door open, arguing out loud sometimes why I “need” this or that rather than making the right choices. I have a fridge full of all the right things, but why do we go out of our way, to eat the wrong things? Don’t get me wrong, my heart is in making the right choices. I really do want to lose and be healthier but that nasty wicked sinful nature in me creeps in and says go for it, you worked hard today, you deserve it………yea right, like a deserve a heart attach, yet I reach in with a steady hand and reach around the carrots, celery, and cucumbers for the burrito, or ham and cheese sandwich or take the time to make a quesadilla!!! I wonder later where was my brain when I was doing that?

    I am proud of you, confessing is good for the soul. I struggle too, just like you said a “spoiled child”, so telling others, addmitting our downfalls and pitfalls, frees us all to be honest with ourselves and allows them the same courtesy.

    Hi, my name is Shelley, I am a food addict.

    Way to go Dawn, keep up with the honesty and you will get there, one pound at a time. I am with you all the way!

    • Dawn Wilson July 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

      I am LOL-ing, Shelley! I’m glad I’m not the only spoiled child. You’re a dear.

  2. writerkate7 July 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Dawn # 4,5,6 really hit me–Am I willing to say “Yes, Lord” when the temptation hits? What are my proactive steps to get past temptation (yea I’m learning Dave Ramsey’s style and boy is it helping!” and reward ourselves. i think often we think reward is bad–it’s not- I celebrate when my son shows right behavior and even reward it–so why can’t I reward (correctly of course) my right behavior!! Great one, Dawn:-)

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