We’ve all heard the saying, ‘patience is a virtue’- now are we sure that’s in the Bible? I didn’t realize how much I struggled with patience before I had kids. The daily struggles of motherhood are uprooting a lot of things that I realize I have to work on. With one step in front of the other I go. Yes, God, I understand it is Your timing not mine, but please can you just let me follow my personal agenda today. And the sad thing is I am a Type B person; I can’t even imagine how my Type A girlfriends deal with this issue. Breathe in, Breathe out.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I love my children, but if you don’t go into parenting with a game plan and a desire for patience you may find yourself quickly losing control of the situation. At birth they already have had 9 months to conspire how to push their parents buttons. They do and will. I don’t write with a perfect track record but a desire to glorify God with my life. Over the next few months these are steps I am going to try to take as I seek after this timeless virtue. But if life gets overwhelming and steps 2-6 aren’t happening, an extra dose of step 1 goes a long way.
1. Wait on the Lord.
Rely on God for the strength you need for each moment. This is a common theme if you want to achieve any virtue, because they are so hard, and don’t usually come naturally. So pray, pray, pray, for the patience needed to get through the day.
I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.
2. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
If you notice that your kids are not behaving, don’t take them to a restaurant or a confined area where it is going to illicit stress from you and your kids. Kids by nature want to explore. I desire that my kids be well behaved and even want to teach them the principles of obedience, but it’s not always feasible in an environment that you don’t have full control. Slowly work these situations into your schedule so you and your kids know the drill and what to be prepared for. If you aren’t ready to handle the situation, you aren’t going to be able to remain control when your kids start acting up.
3. Get proper sleep.
Although it seems appealing to “burn the midnight oil” and extend the time past when the kids are sleeping don’t over do it. I am a fighter for extending the time as much as the next person, but when it affects the next days activities, it maybe time to start scaling back. Suggested sleep for an adult is 7-9 hours.
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.
4. Get proper nourishment.
Don’t run yourself ragged to where you don’t have time to eat. Low blood sugar does have side effects, such as mood change, headache, shakiness, sweating. When Jesus was preaching, He knew those who were listening hadn’t eaten in a while, so He told the disciples to go get food for them. (Matt. 14:13-21)
5. Don’t over do it.
Our kids know when we are stressed. If we plan too much where we don’t take our kids into consideration, we are bound to end up stressed. Factor in an extra 15-30 minutes per activity to accommodate your little ones. Things just take longer. If we try to cram as many things into our day as we did before kids, we are asking for some stress. As much as I desire kids to work on my time, that is usually not the general consensus.
6. Have outlets.
If someone is getting out of control, and you know you can’t handle it in a rational matter, grab a snickers… don’t be a diva. In all honesty, leave the situation for a few. Even if it is just to a different room. Collect yourself and try again.
7. Go with the flow.
Impatience is a doosy, and when you try to have complete control over the situation you quickly realize this unattainable task leaves you feeling broken. When the structure breaks down so do you. Go into the situation realizing things may not go as exactly as you plan. Viewing it more as a tentative plan you are bound to feel more at ease when some new unexpected event crashes the party. We have to trust God that the change is in His hands. So look for God through those unexpected changes.
Love is patient and kind.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Dear Lord, may you grant us a heart of patience as we try to use today for Your glory and honor. Allow us to be open to the days events realizing that we don’t have the big picture but You do. May we do the best we can with what You have entrusted to us. I am sorry for forcing my own agenda. Allow me to be open to Your direction for my life.