Once a year, we have our Sunday morning church service at the local park. It’s such a fun time for the children, and even for the adults. We worship under the picnic shelter and then we feast on hamburgers, hot dogs, and homemade desserts. My kids look forward to this every year because, like most kids, they love the park.
They don’t stop going. I watch them run from splashing in the creek to swinging to climbing the playground structures. With four small kids, it can be hard to keep up with everyone. Especially when they are not listening to the instructions that they’ve been given.
Every time we go to the park, my four-year-old loves playing in the creek but she can’t stand getting dirt in her shoes. I had asked her to put her shoes back on so that we could join her brother and sister at the other end of the park.
On this particular day, my sweet Adelaide was having a really hard time listening. Instead of doing what she was told, she would plop down on the ground, arms folded, and pout.
I turned around to tend to the baby, and when I turned back, she was gone. Panic set in and I started to lose it. Part of me was furious that she didn’t listen and the other part of me was worried about her safety. Seconds later I found her in the bathroom trying to rinse off her dirty shoes.
I lacked the self-control to stop and access the situation, and instead fussed at her for not telling me she went to the bathroom.
When fear makes you lose control
It seems like most of the times when I lack self-control, it is because of fear. I fear that my children will be lost or hurt. I fear that they will just never learn to listen. I fear that they don’t care about doing what’s right.
I fear not being in control.
But God calls us to not live in fear. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “
In this instance, my loss of self-control was a result of straight-up fear. It’s tempting to use this as an excuse to lose it. When we put our trust and faith in the Lord, we can stay calm in these situations. Obviously, sometimes troubling things do happen, but we must acknowledge that no matter how bad we want control, God is in charge. He decides what we walk through and it’s only through His power that we will get through it.
With His strength, I can learn to have more patience next time and be more understanding. And in the end, I can better reach my child’s heart on why it’s important to tell me where she is. My kid’s usually don’t listen when I’m yelling like a crazy person.
Listening to the Holy Spirit and apologizing well
Most of the time when I’m angry with my family, I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to just calm down. And most of the time I don’t listen. I tell myself that they will never understand if I don’t make a big deal about it.
It’s ridiculous but true. For some strange reason, I believe that by letting my temper control me, my kids (or husband) will learn their lesson and never ever mess up again.
We must also learn to apologize well. Many times, I find myself telling my children that I’m sorry. By apologizing we can show our kids that like them, Mommy is a sinner and needs God’s help too. It shows them that I don’t claim to be perfect but I’m in need of a Savior.
We all struggle
The truth is we will all lack self-control at some point. It could be something as small as eating an extra brownie to something as big as cheating on your spouse.
Even though we will continue to fail, we must commit to doing what’s right. We should strive to be an example of integrity to our children. By showing them that honoring God is more important than getting our way, we are revealing the gospel each and every day. We are opening their eyes to the fact that even though we don’t deserve Christ, He loves us unconditionally.
I encourage you to take a breath and think before you speak. Say a prayer and practice self-control today!
I hope you have be encouraged from our Fruits of the Spirit series!