Hey, homeschoolers! I intended to publish this episode last week but ended up giving you a chance to practice patience in waiting for it. I want to share what I’ve learned about being a patient mom, but first, I want to thank the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network. They are celebrating their 10-year anniversary, which is amazing to me. I can’t believe it’s been that long since the kind and generous Felice Gerwitz offered me the chance to have my own podcast.
Some weeks (like last week), it’s challenging to get the content out, but most of the time I love sharing encouragement with you, some of the most committed moms on the planet. The network has some special plans to mark our anniversary, so I hope you’ll check out the website or my social media to participate. Finally, I want to thank you for giving me the honor of listening to this podcast and other podcasts on the network. I don’t take it for granted.
Introduction to Patience
Now let’s jump into the topic of the week: patience. I was surprised to learn that I haven’t done a podcast on this topic when a mom asked me for resources. I’ve done episodes on anger (Anger episode 2 Anger episode 1). But impatience is the precursor to anger. If we can manage our impatience, we are much less likely to lose our cool.
Just as with anger, I believe that only Jesus can rescue us from a real stronghold of impatience. That rescue usually isn’t immediate. When I started homeschooling, I learned I was an impatient mom. I had this image of what homeschooling would look like. My son didn’t share that image. My impatience in response was a nasty surprise. Many moms would have said I had no business homeschooling with that kind of impatience. But I’m glad I persevered. Homeschooling was the fire that God used to refine my patience.
Practice to be PATIENT
I think we can cooperate with God to develop patience. I’m using the acronym PATIENT to share how.
The P is for process. When we don’t process our emotions, it’s like letting trash accumulate. Soon it will overflow the container. We’ll have a blow up.
Not processing our emotions looks like this: Our homeschool friend announces at the last minute that she will not be coming to the co-op party. She is getting her hair done. You are not happy about that. But you push aside that unhappiness because you have a party to get ready for. You also didn’t sleep well because your husband says there is a chance he will be laid off. You’re tired and you’re worried. But it’s too upsetting to think about, so you focus on the party. If you don’t process those emotions, where will your patience be if another friend forgets to bring the paper goods, or your child drops a jar of pickles on the floor?
Processing our emotions doesn’t have to take a lot of time and is unlikely to make us feel worse. It can simply be a matter of praying about how you’re feeling, truth journaling, or talking it out with someone. In a household of eight, we had to take out the trash daily. If you’re working to overcome impatience, I recommend processing your emotions daily too. As we process, we realize that there are steps we need to take to deal with the things that are bothering us that can prevent negative emotions from occurring in the future.
The A in Patient is for Asking Yourself If It’s Important. Is it important that your friend forgot to bring the paper goods? Maybe not. You can either cobble together something else or she can run home or to the store to get them. I often find myself feeling like I’m in a hurry when I’m really not. When I ask myself if it’s important that the cashier is behaving like a sloth, I have to answer no. But what if it is? What if the subject of your impatience is truly important? You have a loved one needing medical attention or you could be late for something critical? In this case, we don’t have to be impatient. We can be assertive. We can say that we need something to happen in a timely fashion and why. We can’t expect others to know that we’re in a rush if we don’t tell them.
The first T in Patient is for Tell Yourself the Truth. In situations that can lead us to impatience, we tend to awfulize. We make the situation much worse in our minds than it is. I’ve shared the example before of walking into a messy house after being gone for a while. I can tell myself it’s a disaster of epic proportions! It looks like a tornado hit. It’s going to take all day to get the house back in shape. Or I can tell myself the truth that I can set a timer for 10 minutes and with all of us working, the house will be back to normal. When we haven’t processed our emotions or asked ourselves if something is important, we may have difficulty telling ourselves the truth. It’s a good time to talk to someone who can talk you down. They will tell you the truth. Before we’re in a challenging situation, we can also renew our minds with God’s truth. We can meditate on not only scriptures having to do with patience but on who God is. When we’re thinking about our awesome, holy, loving God, the broken jar of pickles doesn’t seem like such a big deal. We can also recall the truth that we have an enemy actively working to make us impatient. That truth annoys me enough that I stubbornly refuse to become impatient!
The I in Patient is just what it sounds like: I. In other words, we’re more likely to be impatient when it’s about me, myself, and I. We are doing the JOY acronym backwards as YOJ (first you, then others, then Jesus). It’s the mistake impatient Martha made. Martha was impatient because she wasn’t getting the help she wanted from Mary. She wasn’t focused on Jesus either. Perhaps she hadn’t processed her emotions, asked herself if getting the meal on the table quickly was really important, or hadn’t told herself the truth that it was not a fact a nightmare if Mary wasn’t helping. Back to our co-op party example: Who is the party about anyway? If it’s not your birthday party, you didn’t plan it for yourself.
The E in Patient is for Expect More Challenges. Much of our initial feeling of impatience is related to our expectations. Your co-op friends have probably skipped out or forgotten things before. Your kids have certainly dropped things at inopportune times, as have you. Pretty much every time I was away from home without the kids, they made a mess. And once one thing happens to hit our impatience button, we can count on more. With the party example, expect something to break, someone to get hurt, or someone to have a conflict. You’re more likely to remain calm and you can rejoice if all goes well.
The N in Patient is for Neglect the Upsetting Memories. Just because you should have known your friend would no-show the party doesn’t mean you should ruminate on that. Doing so will create more negative emotions that need to be processed or they can lead to impatience. Every day is a fresh start with new opportunities to experience joy. We can choose to forgive ourselves and others with the power of the Holy Spirit. One powerful way of neglecting the negative memories is to see the humor in the situation. Your friend bailed on your long-planned party to get her hair done? That’s hilarious! When I’m in the middle of an impatience-provoking situation, I often think about how I can later tell it as a funny story.
I recently went to the DMV to get my license renewed. I tried to get an appointment online but my office doesn’t have that option. When I got to the office, it took me a number of attempts to get the screen to allow me to check in. Once I did, it said to go ahead and leave and I would get a text message when it was my turn. The room was full, so I thought it could be a while. But I was just about out of the parking lot when I got a message that it was my turn. As I quickly drove back, I got a message that I had missed my turn. When I got back into the office, the clerk was helping someone else. She noticed me though and said that she was going on lunch break for half an hour but I would be the first person she helped when she came back. I did plan to meet someone after getting my license, but I thought I would be okay even waiting half an hour. I went across the street to a thrift store for 15 minutes, figuring that I would go back a little early, just in case. As I got into my car, I got a text message that it was my turn. As I pulled into the parking lot, I got a message that they had gone on to the next customer. I went back to the office and sure enough, someone else was ahead of me. But in a few minutes, the new clerk explained that she had taken over for the woman on lunch break and would be helping me next. I am so glad the Lord gave me patience in this situation and a sense of humor. The new clerk was delightful and I was on my way in plenty of time for my get together.
The T in Patient is for Thankfulness. It’s impossible to be impatient when we are grateful. When you’re in a situation that is provoking you to impatience, find something to be grateful for. If you’re really struggling, start going through the alphabet. A, I’m grateful for our automobile. B, I’m grateful for this healthy body. By the time you’re through the alphabet, you will likely be much calmer. Of course, we want to thank the Lord for helping us resist the temptation to be impatient and for a humorous perspective as well.
I pray that this episode has given you some encouragement and some tools the next time you’re provoked to impatience.
Have a patient homeschool week!