It happened one Sunday morning…
Sunday – a time when I should have been rejoicing in God, anticipating the joy of worshiping with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and looking forward to spending time with my extended family.
Instead, I was watching hot oil dripping down my cupboards into a good sized pool that was slowing flowing over my recently cleaned laminate floor.
I was tired. I was hungry. I had two egg casseroles to get baked for a church breakfast, a ham to get into the oven, bread dough to make, two girls who needed their hair done, three kids who couldn’t wait to have breakfast at church, guests coming over immediately after church, and now a huge, sticky mess to clean up because I had clumsily tipped a cup of hot oil over while trying to drain a pan of sausage fat.
On a day when I should have been celebrating victory in Jesus, I was struggling to keep my patience.
In the weakness of my flesh, I wanted to have a big, noisy meltdown. I wanted to lash out and shout and stomp my feet and snap at everyone around me. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it?
The worst part of this story is that I had set myself up for this meltdown!
I might as well have planned it out and written it down on the calendar – Sunday Morning Meltdown coming up!
How did I set myself up for this meltdown?
1. Lack of Planning
Is there anything more frustrating than running late and not being able to find your car keys? Or running up against a deadline and being totally unprepared? Or going out in public with a toddler only to discover that you don’t have any wet wipes in your diaper bag? Many times our emotional meltdowns could have been avoided with some intentional planning.
Obviously, we cannot completely eliminate all problems that come from lack of planning. However, if we are routinely losing our patience during a particular time or circumstance (for example, Sunday mornings), we need to ask ourselves if some of the problem lies in a lack of planning.
Could intentional planning help to make those times a little less stressful?
2. High Expectations
Do you expect to get way more done every day than is humanly possible? Do you expect your kids to sit quietly through the five hour long wedding and reception? Do you expect your marriage to be blissfully romantic and happy? Do you expect your children to be healthy?
Unmet expectations can cause us to quickly lose our patience. Unfortunately, if our expectations are based on things in this sin-cursed world, than we are setting ourselves up for perpetual frustration.
God calls us to place our hope in Him and in things above, where we will never be disappointed.
3. Poor Nutrition
Have you ever had a four o’clock meltdown, only to realize that you have are surviving on three cups of coffee, two cokes, and half of a toaster pastry that your toddler rejected?
If we aren’t fueling our bodies with good nutrition and plenty of water, we are setting ourselves up to fail in the patience department.
If you are routinely struggling with a lack of patience, you might want to consider whether your diet could be part of the problem.
Physical exhaustion is another major patience-robbing culprit. I know this one is hard, but strive to make rest a priority in your life.
Maybe this means earlier bedtimes, ignoring the ironing in order to sneak in a nap while the baby is down, or even asking your mom to take the kids one afternoon a week so that you can get some sleep.
If exhaustion is robbing you of your patience, than you need to get creative (with whatever brain cells you have left!) and find a way to get a little more rest.
5. Lack of Control
We are all going to face situations where our lives are spinning out of control. When we are in the midst of these situations, our faith will be tried.
If you are in such a situation right now, will you take it to God? God is ALWAYS in control, and He can give you a sense of peace in the midst of the storm. Take your fears, worries, and heart ache to Him. In faith, cling to God.
If your life is not out-of-control right now, chances are good that it will be soon. Prepare for these times by memorizing verses that focus on God’s love and care for you. Hide God’s Word in your heart so that it will be there and ready when you need it.
When we are focused on ourselves, we lose the ability to extend grace to other people. We become so focused on our own needs, wants, and desires that we resent anyone who gets in our way.
The only way to combat self-focus is to become God focused. Spend time in prayer worshiping Him. Ask God to reveal Himself to you as you read His Word. Ask God to shift your focus from yourself to Himself.
7. Becoming Too Busy
When our schedules are so full that we have no breathing room, we will lose our patience. Our schedules become idols and anything that disrupts the schedule becomes a target for our wrath.
If your schedule is so full that you simply can’t accomplish everything that you need to do, then you will be perpetually annoyed and impatient. If you are struggling in this area, pray over your schedule. Ask God to help you to prioritize what is truly important and to let the rest go.
If you are overcommitted, do what it takes to get yourself out of some obligations. Learn to say “no” without feeling guilty.
My Sunday Morning…
On this Sunday morning, I was struggling with all seven of these patience-killing triggers. The worst part is that I had placed myself in a situation where my patience would be tried.
I knew that I needed to lower my expectations, look to God for my strength, and take some things off of my to-do list.
What about you? Which of these patience-busting triggers do you struggle with the most? What are some changes that you can make today to help prevent these triggers from sabotaging your patience? I would love to hear from you! Please scroll down to comment.