A few nights ago I was sitting with David as he practiced piano. He’s young enough that it’s best for me to sit with him, although he can practice alone. With my lack of musical ability, I don’t really help him much. But I keep him on track and he likes having me there. I don’t really mind sitting with him but on this particular night he was being exceptionally goofy. I told him to please focus because “you are wasting my time.” He laughed and said “Time doesn’t belong to you, Mommy.”
I’ll give you that this was more about the smart-alecky stage that he’s going through than that he was trying to be profound. But I think this was one of those times where God used one of my kids to speak a truth to me. A truth I needed to hear.
The truth is that time doesn’t belong to me. But I often act like it does. I get impatient or frustrated because MY time is being wasted, because MY agenda isn’t happening, because I think I deserve to use MY time the way I want. The truth is that it isn’t mine. It’s God’s time. How much different would I see my days, my kids, my patients, all the people around me, if I started acting like MY time is instead God’s time?
This isn’t meant to be a diatribe against “me time” or call for Mommies to be Martyrs with their daily schedules. I’m going out with friends to dinner tomorrow. I highly value those kinds of nights out. I think our marriage is better when H. and I make time for each other. As an introvert I very highly value time alone. I think most people are happier and healthier when they have some time in their day to pursue their own passions and interests. I think I realize the blessing in having that kind of “me time” and my attitude is one of gratitude rather than entitlement.
My own struggle comes more in the everyday moments of the day. The patient that is 20 minutes late makes me leave work late and then makes me late to meet H. and the kids. Instead of being resentful and short with them, what if I took the time to think about what made her late and reacted with kindness and grace? What if I stopped seeing moments of discipline and temper-tantrums as interruptions in our day and started seeing them as the task I am called to do at that moment in time? What if I laughed with a small boy who is being goofy instead of seeing him as a waste of time?
I was reminded when pondering these thoughts of a quote by Barbara Bush:
Impatience stems almost solely from our exaggerated notions of what is due us. If we could but lower our estimation of the importance of our time, our plans, and our feelings, we would find ourselves almost automatically more patient.
Patience is a ……positive trait. It is the ability to bear affliction, delay and interruption with calmness, perseverance and confidence in the goodness of God. It is inward peace as well as outward control. It is the submission of our schedules, our viewpoints, and our dreams to the greater plan on God, with the conviction that He has a good reason for every delay He allows to come our way.
Patience is something I struggle greatly with and that I think I probably always will. I see myself improving but it’s a slow work that God is doing in me.