I sat and wondered at my less than stellar transformation. I was still in a place I did not want to be. I mean, I had prayed that the Lord would change my heart. I had prayed that I would magically wake up one morning feeling all the joy and all the cheer and skip happily from my room to the kitchen. No thank you, I don’t need coffee; my happiness and joy is all I need for this fabulous morning.
I wondered why I wasn’t suddenly full of all the positive emotions. If I prayed for happiness and joy in my marriage and life as a mother, why didn’t God just wave his sparkly wand and make it happen?
I often have felt like if I wanted God to change me, he would. That if I asked earnestly, he would just work his magic over night, and I would wake up the next morning a completely new person Freaky Friday style. But its never worked that way. And the hard realization has been:
I have to do work.
Ugh. More work?? Like I don’t already handle all the things and juggle all the kids and homework assignments and laundry and dishes and and and…now you’re telling me I have to do something??
I think Christians often believe that if we just pray really hard, God will make us good people, kind, generous, loving, patient…maybe if we go to church and read our Bibles and journal, we will be full of love and devotion and kindness. But it usually doesn’t work that way. I am not going to all of the sudden smile, nod, and kindly rub the shoulder of my tantrum-ing toddler. Nope. I wish it worked that way. I mean, raise your hand if you’ve prayed for patience and then it seems like all hell breaks loose and all the things that make you impatient seem to hold a town hall meeting to plan your destruction. Yes??
If we want people to know we are Christians by our love, then we have to be loving. We need to pray for the Lord to give us wisdom and help us to grow, but in that moment when your child has spilled all the leftover crumbs at the end of the cereal box on your freshly vacuumed floor and runs away screaming like an escaped mental patient…you have to stop. You have to take a deep breath. You have to pray for wisdom and for the Lord to help you.
When you’re fighting with your husband [or wife] and things seem to be all muddy and confusing and turning in circles and your just pissed. You’re just mad. You don’t want to see their side because did you see their side?? Obviously they’re wrong. You have to stop. You have to take a deep breath. You have to pray for wisdom and for the Lord to help you.
And guess what? Its not going to be easy. Changing patterns and growing and consciously deciding to be different is hard work. You’re going to mess up. You’re going to have days when you realize that you actually used your nice voice for most of the day. You’re going to have weeks where all it felt like you did was give consequences and the kids were….just no. You’re going to look back in a year and realize that the work is hard. The work is slow. The work is long.
But when you plant that seed in the beginning, that seed of kindness and patience, you’re going to work at it. You’re going to water and wait and its going to look like nothing is happening. Weeds are going to sprout up and you’re going to have to pull them. The sun is going to get hot and you’re going to have to protect the plant. But if I’ve learned anything from gardening, its this: you’re not going to have a harvest if you don’t do what it takes to get there. I can’t plant something and just leave it until it sprouts food. There is work to be done.
But friend, can I just say that the work needs to be done? It may be hard and you may want to rip that dang plant right out of the pot and throw it into the trash. But if you want to change, you have to endure it. You have to know that the end promises a sweetness that you’ll only know if you work through it.
So work it, girl [or dude]. Lets show the world what love can really look like. xo