It was early morning, when I slipped out of bed, careful not to disturb my sleeping husband. The sun had not yet brightened the sky, yet I knew that there wasn’t much time before my house would be alive and bustling.
Quietly, I tiptoed down the stairs, making sure that I avoided all of the familiar creaks of our old staircase. I made my way into the kitchen to get some coffee started. To me, a steaming cup of creamy coffee in the silence of the morning was the perfect way to start the day.
Once it was ready, I moved myself into the family room and settled into my normal corner of the couch to pray.
I had barely just begun my morning prayer when I heard it…
It was the unmistakable sounds of my children waking for the day. I knew that in just a few moments, they would be bounding down the stairs. The noise level would increase as they climbed all over me and beside me asking about breakfast.
Feelings of panic and frustration welled up inside as I tried to prepare myself for the onslaught. It had gotten to the point where I was thinking things like, “why do they have to BOTHER me?” Resentment filled my heart as my morning quiet time was lost – resentment towards my children for being children, and resentment towards my husband for his ability to continue to sleep and then wake up to make his merry way to a work in peace.
Inside me a battle was raging.
The frustration I felt quickly turned into guilt – “what mother would think this of her children?” I would ask myself. “I’m such a horrible mother, I can’t even love my children well without giving into my selfishness.”
The guilt then turned to confusion. How was I to cultivate a relationship with God if my kids wouldn’t leave me alone? How was I able to show not just a mother’s love, but a Christian love and example to my children when I felt this way?
I knew I could not let the resentment I felt continue to build.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I was going to have to change how I was thinking about my children and my husband if I was going to change how I felt in these moments. Continuing to think those thoughts filled with resentment and frustration were only working to fan the flames.
I started asking myself, “how would Jesus respond?”
My mind was filled with examples from the Bible. In Matthew we hear, “Let the little children come to me.” It reminded me just how precious children are to our Lord. Then in Luke, “Mary has chosen the better part.” I was reminded of the importance on listening to and contemplating God’s words in these areas of my life. I couldn’t get so bogged down with my cares and worries to not make room for Jesus and those He placed in my life.
Throughout the Gospel, we see Jesus responding to each person in each situation with love for them in His heart. I knew I loved my children, but I realized that I would need to remind myself of the love that I had for them in those moments of frustration.
The answer I found was simple, but profound. In those moments of frustration, I would have to check myself. Instead of becoming harsh in frustration, I would say or think, “I love my children.”
It gave me just enough time to realign my heart with God’s purpose for me as a mother, and choose a more loving response.
Your exact situation might be a little different, but are you responding in love?
Are you responding with love in your heart?
There are many times when you may be responding appropriately on the outside, but still seething within. Understanding why you are feeling resentful helps to know how to correct the underlying issue. For me in the above example, it was because I didn’t have appropriate boundaries in place or really know what that looked like, and I’ve learned how to trust God in the moment for when it seems like nothing is going “right.”
Ask God to help you – He is the only one who can change hearts. Then ask yourself, what is it that I’m thinking in these moments of frustration? How can I change my thoughts as I continue to work on conforming my heart to the heart of God?
Change your pattern of thinking by reflecting on how God is calling you to live, speak that into your life, and watch as God changes your heart to one filled with peace, love, and joy.
For step by step guidance on how to live each day as God calls you to and experience this changed way of thinking check out Fuel Your Faith Foundation.