So this weekend was a battle. I had a whole lot of anger that bubbled up and took hold of me Sunday. I slept well, ate better and had plenty of fun times with my girls while Holly was out of town. But it started early on Sunday, whining and nagging, hitting and willful *look-you-in-the-eyes-I-know-this-is-wrong-but-I’m-doing-it-anyway* behavior from my daughters. I gave them time outs, I threatened to take away certain things, I made good on taking those things away, I even had to give myself a time-out.
Then we all went to church and I got some me time to sit through, or tried to sit through, a message about how to cultivate patience. Guys, I remember so little from the message that it’s laughable. I promise you I was there, but my mind and my heart weren’t capable of receiving the message. I know there is a lot of wisdom in the message, and a lot of tangible material I can use but it didn’t penetrate me. I don’t feel any shame in saying that, I do have some disappointment in myself because the ability to receive the message fell on me, and I wasn’t fully present.
I sat through the message, talking myself out of walking out and I prayed. It occurred to me how the day before I was praising God for giving me patience and showing up to give me what I needed before I knew that I even needed it. But yesterday, I felt completely alone. Isolated, lonely, sad, angry.
Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
It occurred to me that what I needed to do was set an example with my girls. Hat in hand I needed to apologize for not being as patient as I should be and to ask for their forgiveness. I prayed for the ability to do it, for patience to be the father and the person I know God wants me to be and calls me to be. Then I launched my plan, put it into action and made amends with the girls who cheerfully received my apology and quickly forgave me. I adore them, and will do anything so to feel their love and know that I was forgiven was such a gift. That lasted less than 5 minutes. We hadn’t even left the ministry center and they were right back to where we started… Defeated we went home. Now I’m trying to move forward, but I’m feeling an empty space still. I’m feeling a sudden distance in my relationship with God, and silence. This is a time that challenges me greatly, but I know that tests produce great fruit (Romans 5:3-4).
So today, I’m giving myself some reminders.
Don’t ignore the silence – Some of the biggest moves God has made come after a period of spiritual distance when it seemed like God was doing nothing in my life. Stay close to God and watch for Him to display His power.
Confront sin – Sin may not be the ultimate reason, but if I do have known sin in my life it will affect my intimacy with God. Even me not being patient enough with the girls is a sin I will confess.
Go back to the basics –I need to remind myself of the basis of faith, the very character and promises of God. God is in control even when it doesn’t seem that He is anywhere to be found.
Choose sides – I can’t serve God and the world. Life happens, we’re all busy but if we’re in a normal state, we have periods where we grow away in our relationship with God. God hasn’t moved, but if I’ve shifted in obedience, I have to get myself back. God is constant, I’m anything but.
Trust More – Times of silence are often filled with fear, but these times require more faith. Times come in our spiritual life when our enthusiasm isn’t as real as when we began our walk with God. That’s not an indication to quit, it may be that God is using that time for something bigger.
Listen and Watch – One day God is going to make His plans known and I don’t want to miss it. He may speak to me personally, through His Word, circumstances, or another person but I need to be in a position to know that God is moving.
Get ready to receive – God will break the silence and when He does it will be good. If I don;t stay focused and get bogged down by the negative junk I’ll be less prepared to receive the good things to come. Not because of circumstances, but because of faith.
I choose to believe that this time is being used to build me, to prepare me for something more. It isn’t easy, but I’ll try to be patient today. One day at a time.
Grace and peace