Lately, I have often felt the sting of conviction. I am not an angry person. I don’t have an explosive temper that makes people fear me. However, I have been very irritable. I find myself sighing, rolling my eyes, using impatient and unkind words, and saying things that I don’t really mean when I feel crabby.
As a homeschooler, it can be worse because I have a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week audience that I can’t get away from. I don’t actually want to get away from them (most of the time), but my audience is always there, always observing. They are always following and doing the very things that I do.
Sometimes they want to be like me. Sometimes they want to be my opposite. It totally depends on whether I’m acting like a warm and loving mama or a spoiled, temperamental brat.
Last year, as part of Community Bible Study, we studied I and II Corinthians. When I got to I Corinthians 13, I felt as if I might collapse under the weight of my own sin. I Corinthians 13:4-5 say:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
Although I usually prefer the KJV translation, I’m sharing the ESV because I find it so powerful. I can get away without feeling convicted when I hear “not easily provoked” because I’m not an angry person. However, when I hear “irritable,” I think, “that’s how I live my life.
I’m praying about my irritability a lot. When I catch it, I’m trying to correct it. I’m begging God to allow me to act patiently, and not just because he’s giving me opportunities to develop patience 🙂 I’m memorizing verses, such as Proverbs 15:1 and Matthew 12:36. I am serious about replacing my irritable words with those that are edifying and build others up.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get serious about eliminating this sin until I saw that it was spreading. My daughter, whom I love so much, has often struggled with being irritable with her brothers and sister. She says unkind words, uses ugly tones and sighs big, exaggerated sighs.
I worry now that I get on to her so much that I discourage her, but in the way that I reprimand her. I’m working on rewarding her with praise for kindness, but that’s so much harder to catch.
I’m working really hard now, not just for myself, but for her and the other children too. If this is an area that you struggle with, I pray that you will feel the sting of God’s conviction. We all need help. We all stumble and fall in many ways.
I would like to say that I’m winning some victory in this area. However, for each two steps forward I make, I make a step backward. Sanctification is slow and messy, and I find that it’s a process. It’s also hard. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit each and every moment of every day. I am so glad that I have him to help and to lean on in my own weakness.