If you ever want to measure how much patience you have, simply overnight with a couple of toddlers for a few days. Knowing how much patience you do or do NOT have ranks right up there with seeing the number on your scale. Most often, I’m going to be disappointed in what I find out!
Just a short time ago, I had the honor of keeping 2 of my grandsons over night for the better part of a week. A 1 ½ year old and 3 ½ year old! Yeah, my house was covered in toys, the floors made that sticky sound when we walked on them, and I was running on fumes. I also was feeling like I’d been knocked back about 100 steps in the patience department!
I’ve never been a patient person. I want to give gifts to their recipients as soon as I get them, money burns holes in my pockets and yes, let me just wear those shoes right out of the store. But by far, the most soul crushing of all my infractions in patience, is my quick fuse when Littles are pushing my oh so exhausted buttons. Unfortunately, this isn’t new to me. I could fill a book with all the failures I’ve made in motherhood over just tiny, stupid, inconsequential things. Though it’s a poor excuse, these moment were often brought on by the oil and water combination of too little sleep and the not yet formed reasoning ability of the little one. I have very few regrets in my life, but maniacal screaming at my kids over the inconsequential has to be at the very top of that short list.
Fast forward 25 years and joy of all joys, I get a do over with grand kids. However, I was only 5 years into this grand parent gig, when I fell smack off that do-over high horse I was riding on. While at the same time my mind was giving me high fives and saying, “You’re so much more mature and evolved. You know how short life is now and you’re not sweating the small stuff.” Pride did indeed go before the fall. But let me tell you, when going head to head with a strong willed child in my care, I am a pitifully weak human being! That frazzled, dried out fuse may not light as quickly now, but to my great disappointment it’s still there! It now serves as a giant reminder of my weakness. I no longer go all “Rosemary’s Baby” with these precious Littles as I did on their dads, but even getting to the over stern, “Did you hear me?” makes me feel those parenting fails all over again. (Note: I’m not saying that order shouldn’t be maintained and respect taught through discipline. I’m only telling you how it makes me feel.)
Pray for more patience, you say? NO, I won’t do it!!!!!! You might as well just pray that you will be put in all kinds of nerve grating, slap the stupid out of people situations. You’re actually asking for the same thing!
However, God loves me enough that he’s “training” me even when I didn’t think I had signed up for that program! The program I DID sign up for was to be His child and I reckon that the polishing and perfecting in our lives comes by trial and experience. Much like athletic training, we are made stronger by the discipline of the exercise. Ugh! I know!!!
“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.” James 1:3 AMPC
Just like with physical exercise, I hate to sweat but it’s necessary to get results. The old adage “no pain; no gain” applies to more than the physical body. (I could insert “Ughs!” throughout this entire text.) I continue to be put in situations everyday that are toning that patience muscle.
It’s not pleasant to look into the mirror of your own humanity because we see all the wrinkles, dimples and imperfection of your own humanness. However, if we have a great trainer who knows just what paces to put us through based on our individual needs and makeup, we’ll be on the right track to see results.
I will never actually be all buff and stuff in patience (or anything else for that matter). But I am much better than I used to be and it’s not just because I know that in a few days I’ll be able to be rested and have a clean house again. 😉 But, that doesn’t hurt. 😉
I still fail a lot! But my wins far exceed my fails. It’s all because my trainer keeps me in the program and gives me plenty of opportunities to succeed whether I ask for it or not! Ouch!