Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Patience?

Recently I found myself in a frustrating season of waiting. My son was struggling over a decision that would affect the entire family and I didn’t want to be left hanging. While I claimed to be leaving it between him and God I continued to lay on the pressure for him to “do the right thing.” Finally God allowed me to see how important it was for my son to learn to make choices based on His leading, not whether or not he would upset people. After all, he is an adult who has a deep desire to please God. Some day he might have to choose between devotion to Christ and devotion to family and friends. It was time to let the Spirit guide him and trust him to listen to God.

In the end he made the choice that we’d all been praying for. The answer seemed to come at the last minute but it came. Immediately I recognized the benefits of getting to this moment of praise because God worked in my son’s heart, not because I nagged him into submission. We all enjoyed the results ten times more. I couldn’t help wishing that I’d backed off sooner. But at least I backed off. Of course this provided a humbling lesson in patience. While my son prayed, searched his Bible for answers, and refused to do what I thought was right as long as he had a reason to believe that God said otherwise, I (without meaning to of course) made life somewhat miserable for him, and yes, for myself. Hopefully I’ll do things differently next time. And I’m sure there will be a next time. Looking back, I did do some things that helped:
• I shared our struggle with Christian friends and asked them to pray.
• I admitted to a few that I wasn’t handling the problem well and needed prayer for my attitude and reactions.
• I asked God to help me be content no matter what my son decided. Even if I wasn’t happy, I needed to respect his choice and enjoy life anyway, trusting that he was doing what he felt led by God to do.

Next time I hope I will also:
• Refuse to let my emotions rule.
• Refuse to give in to frustration (which usually leads to lashing out in anger).
• Trust God’s timing.
• Spend more time praying for a gentle spirit as I wait and wisdom for how to handle the situation in a godly way.
• Encourage the one on the other side of the argument (in this case, my son) to seek God, assuring him of my love and trust.

Are you in a similar situation, waiting on someone else’s decision? Maybe you can learn from my experience—including the things I wish I’d done differently.

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