Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I melted down on my children this morning while trying to get out the door. This is a fairly common occurrence in our house. There are only three mornings a week when we have to be out the door by a certain time, and those three mornings are my least favorite times. I almost always resort to yelling at my kids who inevitably take eons to eat breakfast, think it's funny to hide on me instead of get dressed, and who have to fight me every time I say they have to wear a toque and mittens (it's January in Alberta, so this means they fight me EVERY morning).
Before the holidays, I read about dashed expectations in Donna Partow's Becoming a Vessel God can Use. She hit really close to home when she observed that all too often, her own joy evaporated because of selfish expectations.
Selfish expectations? What's that now?
I'm starting to realize that's exactly why I freak out at my kids (and my husband, but we'll save that for a later date). In the getting-out-the-door example, it's because if we are late I take it as a reflection of my parenting abilities. It makes me look bad and I don't want to look bad. I want to look organized, put-together and efficient. Really it boils down to my own selfish expectations. I expect my kids to cooperate in the mornings so we can get to where we need to be on time in a presentable fashion, which makes me look good. In Partow's words, I am expecting my kids to minister to me. It only follows that with these kind of expectations, I am setting myself up for disaster every morning.
It is becoming increasingly obvious to me just how often my motives are selfish ones. Sure, getting to preschool on time is good for my daughter too. But I'm not yelling at her in the morning because I'm afraid she might part of her class time. I'm yelling because I don't want to look like a parent who can't get out the door on time.
Mark 10:43-45 (NLT) says, "among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others...". *Sigh*. Nothing about being a slave sounds particularly appealing.
Suddenly having the attitude that I am here to serve my husband and my children doesn't happen over night. This is definitely a work that I am not going to accomplish on my own. But I truly do desire to be a more selfless person. Especially if it means I can drop my daughter off at school without all the lousy drama.