“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will.”-Romans 12:2
I miss having little ones in the house during this time of the year. I remember when I had a six and a three-year-old who loved to watch the Christmas specials, go to the mall and make their wish list, and drive around to look at the Christmas lights. We would attend Christmas Eve service at church and then go to Mimi’s house to open up her presents and gorge ourselves full of savory southern cooking.
I also remember feeling panicked, rushed, impatient, and frustrated. I tried to be Super Mom and pull off every little Christmas detail, attend school activities, and work full-time as a corporate billing manager. I wish I would have slowed down and enjoyed the time when the children were small because it definitely flashed by quickly.
This week my two grand-daughters and all three of my children are coming for some early Christmas fun. My daughter and grandchildren live eight hours away so I want to cherish this time with them. During my quiet time with God, I was reminded to embrace the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes about the traits of God, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” These are all wonderful attributes which should be practiced daily. The one which glares me in the face and stirs up my love/hate relationship with is patience.
I can look back at my past and see unnecessary frustration due to a lack of patience with my children, husband, employees, and strangers. I was constantly rushing someone to operate at my speed and get it done without extending any empathy or grace. Not a good look for someone who wants to reflect the fruits of the Spirit. I have been practicing some exercises in patience and will be using the tools with my family this week.
Serve others- Make sure everyone is physically and emotionally comfortable. Listen to their words and understand their needs. Give someone the needed time to speak their thoughts and requests.
Take turns-When there is a large gathering, some structure is needed in order for everyone to be heard and recognized. Take the necessary time for all parties to be understood.
Enjoy the wait-If large groups are dining out, there is definitely going to be a wait. Be prepared with activities for little ones and use the time to talk and catch up. Introduce yourself to a stranger and invite them into the conversation.
Be a buffer- If a situation becomes heated, step in and redirect. Sometimes siblings can continue their fighting from early days (even as adults) and need to be reminded to set good examples for little ones!
I think patience is sometimes learned for some people, like me, through experiences as we grow older and wiser. I have learned many lessons through trial and error in situations which have challenged me in the self-control arena. So, what is the benefit of being patient? For me, it is not forging ahead on MY will but waiting for the revealing of GOD’s will. I keep pressing forward and relying on God to show me ways of improving my fruits of the Spirit.