I recently read a quote by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs that hit me right upside the head:
“Tough circumstances don’t cause me to be the way that I am, they reveal the way that I am.”
Instantly my most prominent flaw came to mind – my lack of patience.
Before I had kids I genuinely believed I was a patient, loving, kind, cool, calm and collected individual. I truthfully thought the toughest part about parenting would be the sleep deprivation (and it certainly was a major component). What surprised me was the blame game.
The massive learning curve and major challenges associated with trying not to kill a mini human being brought up such ugliness within myself that I often found myself startled by my own reflection. Thoughts would form and words would spew before I even had a chance to blink.
As the baby grew, my impatience grew. As his life spread into all areas of my life, my impatience spread into all areas of my life. When another baby came into the picture, another 50 pounds of impatience came right alongside him.
Pretty soon I was impatient with everything and everyone with and without my boys around. Impatience was eating me alive!
Every time I sat down to reflect on what was happening to my life, this sneaky little lie would creep in to affirm me.
“Psst… Cindy… this isn’t you.
It’s the baby’s fault you’re acting…
It’s God’s fault for giving you such a needy…
It’s Chris’s fault for not handling….
It’s your lack of sleep that is causing you to…
It’s your mom’s fault for not doing….
It’s your sister’s fault for failing to…
If only the church would have…”
I can’t even tell you how many times I thought (and truly believed), “My life was fine until ___________ happened.”
But isn’t that totally God’s style?
He loves us SO much that He refuses to let us grow stagnant. He pushes and probes and uses our life circumstances to gently draw us into unknown territories of growth and maturity. Then He guides us into truth, love, forgiveness and freedom as He works in us to make us whole.
He wants us to look like Him and He uses our circumstances (good AND hard) to help chisel us into Christ-like images.
Starring into the eyes of my son as a baby was like starring into a mirror of my own heart. My lack of patience wasn’t because of him. It surfaced because God knew it was time I dealt with something that had been lying dormant for far too long. He needed it gone. He needed it out of my life if ever my life was to be used for His glory and reflective of His nature. And He knew I needed freedom from it or the rest of my life would be one giant mess of annoyance and frustrations.
The same can be said for each of us. We all have ugliness that we need to deal with. Take out baby and insert marriage. Take out marriage and insert neighbor. Take out neighbor and insert co-worker. Take out co-worker and insert _______________.
We are human.
We are flawed.
We are ever evolving.
The circumstances that push our buttons, that test our limits, that try our patience and that make us snap are usually the circumstances that God is using to get our attention. He desires for each of us to be whole, so rather than playing the blame game, perhaps we should be asking God what He’s trying to teach us in our seasons of “new baby.”
”It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” -Galatians 5:1