"Would you just hurry up and learn patience already!?"
I find that sometimes teaching patience is one of the most testing activities for my own patience. We do pretty well planning ahead when it comes to getting ourselves ready & out the door in time for our normal schedule. We try to set our back packs, shoes, socks, & lunch boxes in the same places each day. I've tried to teach my boys where these things go when we get home, so that they can be putting their things away instead of mom doing it.
But that morning when the shoes were put in the laundry room because they were covered in dirt, that time my own shoes were left in the kitchen, when the baby's paci chain was left in my bathroom, when the boys' cups for school were left on the table, and when the baby then pooped his pants. Yeah, that time we were late. And my patience was tested. and tested. and tested. And I struggle not to get completely frustrated with all the circles I walk around my house over&over.
I think those moments are one of my worst success rates. I am to blame because I did not prepare ahead of time, making sure all of our things were ready.to.go. I am to blame for losing my temper & giving into frustration & fussing at my boys. I feel the weight of that morning & it feels like failure.
I think the Lord has taught me something valuable in those moments, retrospectively. That imperfection does not equal failure. We did not meet the expectation of being ready on time, but we were ready. Sometimes it doesn't alway get done the way I want. Sometimes we are late. Sometimes poopy diapers add that extra 5 minutes you didn't have. But I haven't failed in achieving the goal of 'readiness'. I just didn't do it quickly enough. Why does that feel like defeat?
"Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly."
Proverbs 14:29 NIV
The great thing about this verse, is the it is alternately translated:
"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly."
Proverbs 14:29 ESV
I find that being quick-tempered, easily-angered, quick to speak are all connected. That I end up committing 'follies' in succession after I give into my temper. I just resonate with the idea that patience is the equivalent to being slow to anger. It is absolutely true.
Do my boys practice patience? Yes & No. They definitely struggle (like their momma) with being quick tempered. I usually ask them to be patient when they are waiting for something. Usually, their turn with a toy or waiting for their food. The immediate needs of now are enough to cause them to lose their temper & demand whatever-it-is NOW. Patience can be practiced up to a certain point, and then the battle can be lost in the last moments even though victory was close at hand. Patience to me seems to be a marathon, not a sprint.
Lord may I teach my sons about patience through modeling it for them. Help me to teach them how to hold on tight when patience feels like its slipping through their fingers in the fight. Let us both become slow to anger & gain your understanding & wisdom. Thank you for never losing your patience with me, but always forgiving when I fail. Thank you that my failure to achieve my goals is only imperfection, and that if I can have victory through patience in the midst, that can be a victory in and of itself. Amen.