I’m like Chevy Chase in the movie Vacation. In my mind, summer equals kids home, laughing and frolicking through the sprinklers with popsicles that are never sticky. They’ll be grateful for the trips to the zoo, cabin, and pool. No one will complain. But then reality kicks in, kids are kids, my patience dries up, and like Sparky from the movie, I have a mommy meltdown and need some Tylenol.
Not. This. Summer. I’m learning people aren’t my problem, my heart’s expectations are.
What’s the thing that sets you off? Or rather, who drives you crazy? Maybe the person who’s always late, or the friend who never shows, slow traffic, bad manners… the list of pet peevs goes on. You feel your patience waning and your frustration rising.
One of mine is when I put effort in and it’s not appreciated.
I cook an awesome meal like a FoodNetwork star, set the table with floral placemats and use my pretty dishes. I EXPECT my kids to eat in glorious silence because they can’t believe how yummy it all is. Turns out that’s not a realistic expectation. Instead the opposite happens. I have to count out bites, 5 more!, and then threaten no dessert. The fun is gone because my attitude goes south with unmet expectations.
Whatever the struggle is, whoever it is, the root of impatience is in us. What we store up in our hearts comes out in our actions and words. Sometimes in the form of impatience.
Luke 6:45 says “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
If I store up frustration with others, frustration comes out. If I harbor resentment, bitterness comes out. If I hoard disappointment from unmet expectations or shattered plans, impatience rears up.
Like right now. My expectation is that I can sit in peace and type a blog while my three kids are at home. You can bet that was unmet. One came in with a wookie costume on, another was screaming he needed help on the potty, and the third was chanting Hi-Ho-Let’s go! Enter impatience. I feel it swelling. Can’t I just do what I want to do when I want to do it! gah!
The only expectation I have this summer is that I expect we will all need Jesus.
BUT I don’t have to let my unmet expectations today or this summer get my goat. I can EXPECT others to need Jesus just as much as I do and love them starting with my thoughts.
If we store up good as we surrender our thought life to the Holy Spirit, patience and grace will flow out of our hearts naturally. If we store up thankfulness for the sunshine and giggles, if we seek out joy in the hard, and bury positive thoughts about our people in our hearts instead of annoyance, if we decide others are more important than ourselves and our agenda….patience won’t be so hard. It will flow out of the love we’ve stored up.
People will push all the buttons possible. But although you can’t control others, you can control your thoughts towards them.
So let me validate you this summer as we end the month on patience. People will push all the buttons possible. But remember although you can’t control others, you can control your thoughts towards others. Make a pact with yourself (I will too) to believe the best of others and store up loving thoughts towards your kids, spouse, friends, neighbors, coworkers, even when it’s hard. Jesus loves them dearly and sometimes we can reflect His love best through humble patience.
**Practical action step: I’m declaring June = JUST JESUS JUNE! I’m doing a social media fast with a friend. Why? Because social media makes me feel yucky sometimes. I leave sites having wasted time and comparing myself to others while neglecting important duties. You?
The fact that I’m nervous about giving it up for a month is my clue that I need to give it up to gain more peace and be more present…which I’m hoping will also impact my level of patience. No more “just a sec!” when someone is calling my name. ARE YOU IN?! Is God calling you to put down the phone and look up at your life?? Join me for a day, week, or the whole month of June for a SOCIAL MEDIA FAST. Jot down in the comments or in a journal how social media makes you feel now. And then update when your fast is over telling me what you learned. Let’s do this!
Here’s how I feel presently while using social media… distracted, pulled 10 different ways, always connected, impatient, everyone’s doing it better, I need to up my game, looking for cute moments to post instead of just enjoying moments. ugh.
I can’t wait to update you in July because I’m counting on a heart change by cutting out the noise:) Also, I’m replacing with a study by Priscilla Shirer on “Gideon”. Input=output. Input God’s word = output love. What are you reading???
Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.