In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold… Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:26-27, 29
I have this persistent ring around the toilet bowl in my upstairs bathroom that just won’t go away. I’m not sure if it’s because of the harsh water here in New Hampshire (there’s a reason why it’s called “The Granite State”), or because of my less than consistent housekeeping routine. It most definitely increases and decreases based on how long it’s been since it’s seen Soft Scrub with Bleach and a scrub brush. But no matter what, it’s always there, dark or faint, right at the water line. I guess I’m not the only one who experiences this. It’s actually been a topic of conversation at several neighborhood parties. No lie! My neighbors and I have even purchased cleaners and sponges for each other, trying to battle the problem together. But no matter the cleaner, it’s still there.
I also have a persistent impatience problem that won’t go away. I’m not sure if it stems from nature or nurture, and it most definitely increases and decreases based on how much sleep, prayer and “me” time I get. But no matter what, it’s always there, right beneath the surface. I guess I’m not the only one who experiences this. It’s been the topic of many conversations with other moms. We share war stories and tips for trying to control it, but it’s still there.
Although my kids don’t notice the ring around my toilet bowl, they most certainly do notice my impatience. Moreover, they are usually the ones on the receiving end of it when I let it loose. As my most sensitive child, I watch my seven year old son Mason visibly wilt under the sting of it. No matter what way I look at it, or try to justify it due to a lack of sleep or prayer time or “me” time, it’s not okay! My role as their mom is to build my kids up, encourage them, be a safe haven for them, and be a role model for them. My impatience does none of those things. Instead, it tears them down, turns them away, and teaches them it’s okay to give in to their own impatience.
I don’t think I can ever completely get rid of my impatience problem. I think it’s just one of my many character flaws that I will have for life. Like the ring around my toilet bowl, it will always be there, right at the surface. However, I can bleach it of its power with prayer: prayer before my well is empty, and prayer especially in that millisecond between my kids’ actions and my reaction. I know that that is easier said than done. However, I’ve experienced the power of prayer. When I do remember to pray in that critical second, it works every time to diffuse the situation, and me.
I want my actions and words to be “helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” When my kids are grown, if all they remember is the ring around my toilet bowl, I can live with that. On the other hand, if all they remember is my impatience, that is something I will regret always.