It always seems to catch me off guard when I’ve snapped at my children, acted frustrated with a phone call that’s interrupted my day or been rude to a stranger. “Why did I do that?” is always usually my first thought. Then a list of rationalities follow: “this has been such a long day; I am so tired; we’re running late; I’m overwhelmed;” etc. Then the list of resolutions start: “I just need to get better about leaving with enough time; when life calms down for us a little then I’ll have more patience; when my kids are older it won’t be so overwhelming, then I’ll be a good mom; etc”
Its amazing how often I think that at the next season of my life is when I’ll start to be able to “work on” the fruits of the spirit: gentleness, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control. I give myself a bye for this season and wait for a “less crazy” season to engage my heart with God.
I looked up the definition of bye: the right to proceed to the next round of a competition without contesting the present round, often through nonappearance of an opponent.
The next round seems so much more important or controllable. I often feel like I have no hope for this round so why even show up. I feel sure that in the next round I’ll have the chance to demonstrate profound faith in God or I have a better opportunity to get it right.
I read this from Oswald Chambers this morning: “It requires the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.”
I have felt a stirring in my heart over the last couple of weeks that this is the time. It is exactly in the middle of this crazy, busy, overwhelming season that God will be working out the fruits of the spirit. Can you even call it patience if you behave calmly when you were already calm to start out with? I find myself finding a new hope that God is using this season to change me into more of the woman he created me to be. But it requires me to engage with him, to pray for patience in the moment and to confess when I’ve been impatient.
Tough seasons don’t give me a free pass to the next round. This is the round that matters. I want to show up.