I often find myself using the phrase, ‘losing my patience’ with my kids.  It’s my way of letting them know that Mama might blow at any moment…as I think about it more, it’s also my way of excusing a lack of self-control.

Just this morning I used that phrase in a conversation with the maintenance man.  After losing our hot water and heat for the third time in less than two weeks, it’s fair to say that we are rather frustrated.  In speaking with the man, I asked him to pass on to his supervisor that we are losing our patience with this issue.  But is that really accurate?

There are times when one may lose all self-control and erupt in anger – but that is an instantaneous event.  It is not generally pre-meditated, it’s not a conscious decision…it’s still sin, and inexcusable, but it is different from the ‘losing patience’ that I often refer to.

When I say I am losing patience, what I really mean is that as the particular unpleasant situation continues, (or various situations combine) I am making a conscious decision to think and act with less kindness, less patience and less compassion.  Under a guise of ‘losing patience,’ I somehow deceive myself into placing the blame outside of myself, rather than admit that it is my own heart issue.

See, if out of no where I simply explode in anger and yell, my conscience immediately reveals that sin to me…but if it is a slow process, then I can excuse my sin and claim that it was the continual action of my children that caused this sin, because they would not stop.  Losing something is not an intentional act after all.

It is amazing how my mind can twist reality to avoid personal responsibility.

I need to change my language here.  Next time I want to think or say that I am ‘losing my patience,’ I think I’ll replace it with some self-talk that goes something like this, ‘Melissa, you are sinning in thought and deed.  You are seeking an excuse to act in a fleshly way rather than to fight this sin of selfishness.’

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