I have been very aware in recent weeks of the words and tone I use when speaking to my boys. I have been working to replace nagging and snapping with kinder, gentler words. Or simply holding my tongue, if need be. Most days I have set aside a few minutes every morning asking God for his help in that, and simply his guidance in our day.
On Monday morning, somewhere between waking up at 6:30 and getting out of bed at 7:00 I realized what a challenge being patient and gentle would be on this day. And without a Bible reading, without a formally addressed prayer, without getting up out of bed or getting down on my knees, I simply offered a deeply sincere plea for help. I did not regret my late night, but I certainly didn't want to take it out on my boys. And I knew that with the lack of sleep I was working with, the task seemed nearly impossible.
After my short, simple, yet extremely sincere prayer, I got up and began my day as usual. Our breakfast, school, and even morning house-keeping time (the biggest 'be nice' challenge) were great. I was very aware of what a normal day it was. They weren't little angels. There were problems. But I was able to handle it just like I had gotten 9 hours of sleep instead of 4. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit I've done worse on 9, some days.
Last night I was thinking over how the day had gone, thankful for not being a grouchy bear that morning. Although I had definitely given God the credit, I hadn't realized what made it different. In one way I had started the day just like many others, with prayer for His help. But my attitude Monday was different, in that I knew I had nothing to offer. I had no resources to bring to the table, no faith in myself to do what was right. I was completely dependent on the Holy Spirit to produce his fruits in me.
The lesson learned is that is the way it should always be.
Jesus said in John 15:15, "without me ye can do nothing." Nothing. Not "a little bit". Not "a few things". Nothing. Which means, I come into every day as empty-handed as I did yesterday. But I stay so busy trying to do my part that I am not completely dependent on him.
Now the challenge is to remember that complete dependence and put it into practice, no matter how confident I am in the abilities I think I have. Or how much sleep I got the night before.
What a handy lesson to learn with weeks of interrupted sleep in our near future. What a blessing to have more opportunities to remember what little I have to offer, and the perfect source of strength I have available!
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9