I don’t know if patience, or lack therefore, is something you struggle with but I can say with certainty that it a very real struggle for me. As a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler to four young children, I struggle with patience on a daily basis. These adorable little beings whom I love so dearly somehow know just the right buttons to push to make me blow my top and lose my cool. I have read countless Christian books and bible studies that speak into this subject but up until this point none of them have given me that quick fix solution I was needing. I figured if I just prayed for more patience every day that the Spirit would just impress it upon me but this has yet to be the case until now.
I’ve been feeling impatient lately with my children. I tend to go in trends of positive growth towards patience to slipping backwards into my old self formed habits. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been stuck in a slump of impatience. It tends to arise when my routine is thrown off course, tasks are incomplete, house is unkempt and children are restless and whiny. It just takes a toll on me and I give myself permission to be impatient.
Tonight, I just took some time to pray for my children and my friends’ children who all seem to have come down with some form of cold or flu all at the same time. It was then that I felt really convicted by my attitude as of lately and just took that conviction to the Lord. I just confessed it to Him and in that moment it was as if He spoke so clearly to me. He reminded me of a bible study I did back in September with my children on the Fruit of the Spirit, and recalled the lesson on patience. It defined patience as “waiting without complaining.” Isn’t that so simple and catchy? I remember it all the time to share with my children when they are complaining about waiting to get out of the house, or get into the house, or get into the vehicle or brush their teeth, or play on the tablet, or watch a show. It seems endless the amounts of time in a day my children lack patience and I speel off this saying, “patience is waiting without complaining.” Yet all the times I’ve said it to my children, it has never once truly resonated in my heart until tonight.
I was reflecting on my afternoon doing homeschool with my son and it really wasn’t just today to be honest. It’s almost a daily thing with me. I become frustrated by having to wait for him to do his work properly or for him to focus, or for him to find the writing tool he needs, or for him to return from the bathroom for the third time that morning. What do I do in those moments? I complain. In the moments, when I should be modelling patience- waiting without complaining, all I do is grumble and complain.
I’m currently reading Julie Bogart’s new book, “The Brave Learner,” and the chapter I read tonight spoke right into the heart of this matter. She writes, “ Are you fair? Are you kind? Do you demonstrate that your child’s happiness matters to you? Do you listen? It’s impossible to expect children to offer those same qualities to others if they haven’t experienced them from you. If we want our kids to value the needs of others, we must value our children’s needs first” (p.118). The same is true if I want my children to demonstrate patience with their siblings, with friends, with strangers and even me. I have heard all these things before and nothing about it is that profound, but what the Lord impressed upon me in compilation of all these things is that I can have patience, but I must choose it. It is not something He has hidden or withheld from me. It is a gift He has freely given me when He gave me His Spirit. I simply must choose to use it.
Let me remind you what patience is, it’s waiting without complaining. So, I can have patience, by choosing to wait without complaining and you can too! Yes, this can be difficult, because it requires us to change old habits and create new ones but 1 Corinthians 5:17 says, “That anyone who is in Christ, the old will pass away and the new will come.” Therefore, when we are living in the Spirit and choose to use the fruit of the Spirit, then we are able to rid ourselves of our old habits and put on new ones. This requires a conscious choice minute by minute, moment by moment. We need to be aware of our situation and surroundings, recognize our triggers and choose to respond in a way that glorifies God. Simply put, in “whatever you do, in word or in deed, do in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). I truly believe patience is possible and achievable in my life and yours. Let us choose to wait without complaining and clothe ourselves in patience so that our children and those around us can tangibly experience the Lord at work in our lives.
SHARE: Is patience an area of struggle in your life? What choices can you make today to clothe yourself in patience?