The Summer of Patience is taking its toll and we are only twelve days in. I will confess to you that I stayed in the van in the garage yesterday with the sleeping baby under the pretense of not wanting to wake her up when I moved her. The reality was, I just couldn’t take the bickering any more.
Top Middle has one setting this summer it seems – obnoxious. Bottom Middle calls it “ag-noxious” which I think means “so annoying God questions whether He believes in him anymore.” Top Kid and Bottom Middle have one setting as well – sensitive. Top Middle would call that “blood in the water.” Now when Top Middle gets going, the other two hit a new gear called “highly sensitive” which of course kicks him into “feeding frenzy obnoxious.” And around and around we go ramping it up with every cycle.
Yesterday, I cried. I questioned what kind of parent I was; what I had done wrong; and if I should just find a pack of wolves and move myself and Little Bit in with them.
As I was trying to wind down last night after everyone was in bed, I tried to sort it out. What IS going wrong? I prayed that God would refill me and make some changes because I can’t cry myself through every day for the next 67 days (yeah, I went there).
Problem #1. I have been asking them to do a lot of chores. Now it’s not that they shouldn’t help around the house. But I have been asking them to do them, now, and quickly and don’t play because we need to get this done! Where’s the fun in that? Of course they are going to object and drag their feet and be uncooperative!
Problem #2. After chores, I don’t really have anything else planned. In years past I have gone all out with summer plans and busyness and places to go and things to do. With Little Bit in tow this year, that’s just SO much more to do because we have to account for her activity level and her naps and her “lifestyle.” Part if it is that we can’t do some things, but a lot of it is that it’s just more work and preparation than I want to take on myself.
Problem #3. I still haven’t gotten the lesson. I acknowledged that I need patience but I haven’t embraced it like I thought I was. When they come to me tattling and bickering and making those ridiculous face noises (is that a boy thing?!), I shoo them and ask them to deal with it!! Their version of “deal with it” is screaming or the laying on of hands – and not in that spiritual way either. What I should be doing is listening and redirecting. I tell them to just walk away from him when I should be giving him something else to do.
And now we are to it. He’s bored. He has nothing he wants to do that makes him feel useful, happy or busy. It’s twelve days into summer and he’s already bored!
Great Sarah. But where is MY spirit lesson in that? Consider your faith timeline. When are you feeling most fulfilled and closest to God? What would a pie chart of your time look like? Many people have a list of service they are offering to God but they still feel unfulfilled or “bored.” Are they chores? Or are they what God called you to? A new place to serve?
Ephesians 4:7, 11-16
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. … And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking in truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
We are each called to be something in the faith family and when we are serving in our place, we are fulfilled. We don’t feel the need to undermine spiritual siblings with criticism, gossip, or negative attitude. We use our “job” to support the body of Christ and keep it working well.
But what if I have a gift of teaching and I am serving as a janitor? Chances are that my janitorial duties will not only become a drudgery to me but I probably won’t do them well. The next thing you know I take too much time to clean up a spill in the narthex and Sister Martha Methuselah falls and breaks her hip which means the kids won’t have snack at VBS next week because her gift of hospitality is now in traction in the hospital.
A few months ago I had some conversations with friends from church and uncovered a hole in basic Bible knowledge that I felt was being missed. I went to a few people and asked about it and the next thing I knew I was looking through curriculum books to start a new class in the fall with my favorite person from our discipleship team. I have always said there is no way I could ever be a teacher but I am more passionate and excited about this project than I have been about much of anything other than writing in a long time! I can’t wait for the fall classes to start!
When you find yourself being critical of an area of your church, ask yourself “Am I serving where I need to be?” I’m sure many of you are serving just fine! But is it where you are supposed to be or where you are comfortable? Are you using your gifts for the glory of the Kingdom? Or are you just bored and being ag-noxious?