My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. – James 1:19-20
Glancing at my watch, I call their names again. “It’s time to go!” I had told them 10 minutes ago to get dressed. I walk in their room and find them half-dressed, hair in tangles and playing. My patience is already worn thin, I’m irritated and it is only 7:45 AM.
At least not at home. At school, I seem to have quite an abundance of patience and maybe I am faking it at school or it is wearing on me by the time I get home, but it doesn’t take much for me to come unglued around my own kids.
When I think about patience, I think about waiting. If I’ve waited in line at the store with all 3 kids in tow, with the slow checkout lady, without getting irritated, that’s patience. And patience is also when I don’t blow my top when my kids don’t get ready on time.
Patience is all those things, but it’s also much more. 1 Corinthians lists patience as the first characteristic of love. “Love is patient.”(1 Corinthians 13:1) Patience is more than merely waiting. Patience is trusting God’s love is greater than the challenges before you. It is believing that he is at work in you, molding and refining you into something more glorious. Patience is also believing in the work that he is doing in others, especially our spouse and children. It is resting in the knowledge that he is sovereign over every circumstance, challenge, irritation, confrontation or problem that we face.
Love is patience; patience is love.
I am more patient now than I was before we had children, but I still have a long way to go (a very long way to go).
We complicate parenting. We try so many different methods looking for the perfect solution to help us to be more patient with our children. When really? A large portion of our irritation can be avoided with a few simple steps.
Despite our best efforts we will face situations that test our patience to the limit. Here are some things that I (try to) do that help me handle the tough times in a biblical manner.
I want to challenge you to try these tips for 1 day and you’ll be amazed at the impact they will have!
Sleep 7-8 Hours
Have you ever had a child MELT DOWN when they were over tired? Yeah, me too.
Anyone with kids knows how vital sleep is to both our emotional and physical well being. Many of us don’t get enough sleep for various reasons. Like Facebook. Like reading blogs (except this one of course). Like TV. The list goes on. We say that we NEED time to relax. Then in the name of “relaxation”, we stay up late, only to be exhausted and cranky the next day.
When we stay up late, we rob ourselves of tomorrow’s energy, patience and joy.
Sing The Patience Song Or Breath
The what? Yes, you heard me. There is a song that I teach my kids to sing and so in turn, I should be singing it too. It goes like this:
Have patience. Have patience.
Don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get inpatient, you only start to worry.
Remember, remember, that God has patience too.
Think of all the times when others have to wait for you.
Singing this song (yes, even in the grocery line) or taking deep breaths, counting, whatever it takes helps me to calm down in that moment.
You can listen to the whole song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kn6Z2Mop5I
Be Like A Wall Of Jell-O
Being an adult with emotional kids is tough. So imagine what it’s like for our kids to have emotional parents. When we respond poorly to our children’s emotions (with anger, frustration, rudeness, annoyance) it truly rocks their world. Our children need stability. When we are frustrated and angry, our responses are not going to bring about righteousness in our children. Being angry doesn’t teach our children anything except that “if Mom can fly off the handle, so can I.”
Be the Jell-O in their lives; absorb their emotions and frustrations, filtering them through prayer. If we can’t respond in LOVE, tell them we need to calm down and postpone response.
Be All There. Don’t Multitask.
Often times the root of our impatience is because we’re distracted, trying to do too much.
Stop what you’re doing and look at your child.
I am frequently asked the same question multiple times simply because each child needs to know the answer. I’m often tempted to reply with impatience when I’m asked, “May I go play outside?” for the seventh time in 3 minutes, but when I stop a moment and look at my child, I realize that this child has not yet heard my reply, they’ve done nothing wrong and are simply asking me a question. Responding with impatience would certainly be provoking my child to anger.
Start 15 Minutes (Or More) Early
Possibly the most patience testing time for moms are when we are trying to transition our kids. They always seem to move in slow motion. They forget things like – pants. It’s truly stunning the crazy things that cause friction during transition times. Starting extra early allows me time to handle a blowout diaper, a disobedient child, a lost shoe, another potty break, a sensory issue, or whatever else comes my way. It’s when I face all of these (and twenty more) at the same time that I work on keeping my patience, because it happens and those stressful situations are sure to come, no matter how many children are in your home.
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. – Luke 11:9
It’s impossible to get frustrated or angry if I’m in the process of praying.
Focus On The Goal
Generally my impatience comes when I’m focused on me and what I want to accomplish (dinner on the table, clean house, at school on time). In these instances I view my children’s interruptions as a hindrance to the goal, but I have it all wrong.
Dealing properly with my child’s interruption is the goal.
When I remember that my goal in life is to serve Christ by serving these children, then I’m able to have a right view of the interruptions, messes and chaos that come my way.
When you lose your patience and respond to your children in a sinful manner, then be quick to repent and ask their forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. I always use the words, “I was wrong”. I tell them in what way I sinned against them and I ask them to forgive me.
The times we find ourselves having to wait on others may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord.