A few weeks ago, for Father’s Day, I wrote a post on honoring our husbands (children’s fathers). I’ve tried to apply what I taught (rather learned) by watching my tone and response to my husband. It seems that my children are picking it up and don’t use those tones as much, now.
However (you felt that coming, right), I’ve noticed another area within myself that needs improvement regarding responses to others. And that is my response to my children. Now, I’m not a mom who allows “stupid” or “idiot” or words like that around my house. I truly enjoy sharing life with my little guys. But, there are those days when the 1000 questions leave me exasperated! So much so, that even when I hear “Mommy” in a tone that I know is leading to a question or if I get interrupted on my fifth attempt to finish a 4 sentence conversation with someone...my initial reaction is “(SIGH)...what is it?!” (said in a not-so-inviting tone). I really just want to roll my eyes and say “What, what, what, what, whhhhaaaatttt?!!!”.
Although I don’t do the eye roll (because that is NOT something I want to see), I’ve been a little to careless with my reactionary responses lately. I know that part of it is probably the age that the boys are (4 y.o. and 2 y.o.) and my exhaustion with my pregnancy (I’m “very” pregnant). Yet, I myself haven’t been pleased at how I am exhibiting Christ lately with my little “disciples” in training regardless of how valid my reasons are. Besides that, I’m starting to see the frustration of hearing me ask them to do something in their responses, too (at least, with my 4 y.o.).
I was hit smack in the middle of the head the other night when I read my nightly reading...it was the “Love” chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. You know..."love is patient, kind..." Honestly, it’s pretty tough getting past “patient” some days. But then, in reading the English Standard Version, I came to the phrase...”love is...not...irritable.” I knew I didn’t even need to look up “irritable”...but I did: “easily exasperated or excited”. I knew I was guilty of being “easily exasperated”. Again, I am fully aware that being tired or stressed leads to irritability, but in my heart, I was also pierced with the realization that something of Love is not perfected in me.
So, with tears, I repented in prayer. I haven’t quite arrived. But now I’m aware that the problem isn’t necessarily my children and their endless questions but it lies within me...even if it is just being stressed. It’s not something I need to take out on my children, but something I should work on and lay at the feet of Christ. So, with humility, and sometimes stressed-out tears, I’ve prayed about it (even out loud in front of the kids). And I’ve apologized to them. It’s probably something I’ll have to do over and over (like “rinse & repeat”), but hopefully it will show the kids how to deal with their stresses, too.
This doesn’t mean I’m not irritated anymore...but I can choose the response that I give.
I also learned that “The Love Dare” book has a chapter on this very topic (Day 6) to help with more understanding of this phrase and how it relates more specifically toward your spouse.
So, how are you handling “irritations”? :)
Much love (hopefully being perfected),