The other day I read in my morning devotional book by Jill Briscoe:
As a young mother trying to be patient with my children, it was easy to blame the little imps for my impatience and irritation. However, I learned that the children did not create my mood, they simply revealed it.
Ouch! Man, that hurts! But Mrs. Briscoe is so right. After reading that, I had to get on my face before the Lord and confess. I had been fussing at my children, blaming them for this and that. In reality, my own stress and poor planning and failure to stay in sweet fellowship with God was the root of my problem.
So many times I get caught up in the details of the day, in the work that must be done, and I take my focus off of Jesus. I meet with Him in the morning for a few minutes of prayer and I read a little bit of His word at some point throughout the morning. I usually even ask Him to forgive me and fill me. But I leak.
When I encounter a frustration and I respond without seeking Him first, I leak. When a child disobeys and I respond without seeking Him first, I leak. When the milk gets spilled and the dog gets stepped on and the ball gets thrown in the house and I respond without calling out to Him first, I leak. When I think of a friend and know I should call her, but I dismiss it with excuses of what’s on my to-do list, I leak. When I hear my youngest calling “Mama, Mama” and I know I should sit and play with him a while, but I sit down to check email instead, I leak. Pretty soon, I’m not filled with the Holy Spirit, I’m filled with Fleshly-Jennifer.
And then I am impatient and rude and sarcastic and all the things that real love is not. I have turned into what I call “Monster Mom.” And I find myself blaming my children for this transformation. They didn’t pick up the Legos that I just stepped on. They didn’t really put away all those Hot Wheels cars, they just scooted them under the couch. They have the TV up too loud. They can’t speak kindly to each other. They left the dress-up clothes all over the floor and left regular clothes on the bathroom floor and toothpaste all over the sink and crumbs all over the table and dumped dog food into the dog’s water to watch it expand. So I tell myself it’s all their fault that I’m crabby and raising my voice and gritting my teeth and stomping around the house complaining about what a mess they’ve made.
But it’s not their fault. They don’t create my mood. They reveal it. My Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader used to say that we’re like tea cups. When we’re bumped, whatever fills us up is what spills out. And when I’ve leaked out all the Holy Spirit and am only filled up with Fleshly-Jennifer, then guess what spills out when I’m bumped. Ugly, Fleshly-Jennifer.
My Father Dear, please plug up my leaks. I want to decrease so that You will increase. I want to be so filled with You that when my children bump me with their messes and their disobedience and their noise, I will spill out You. When they reveal my mood, please let it be a mood that resembles You and Your character.