My study for this week is on patience, something every mom tends to run short on. I can't tell you how many times I've lost my temper with my kids or a situation in my house, and let me tell you, when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. (Wow, it gives me heartburn just to type bad grammar). Anyway, in my lesson today, I came across the Greek words for patience..yes, there are two of them. The first is hupomone. Hupomone means "to persevere, remain under, bearing up under. It refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. It is endurance in relation to things or circumstances." (Beth Moore, LBY) Most importantly, hupomone is inspired by hope. The hope that things will get better, that there will be a payoff, etc.
The second type of patience is called makrothumia. Makrothumia is "to be long suffering...forebearance...self restraint before proceeding to action. It is the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so. Makrothumia is patience in respect to persons." (Beth Moore, LBY) Makrothumia is inspired by mercy.
I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with...well, anything. For some reason, I just liked this and it made some points I'd like to apply to my life. I've always had a problem dealing with stress, but it's always been a lump problem for me. This rather separates it in my mind, and gives me individual ways of dealing with it. If one approaches every stressful situation or person with a singular point of view, one is pretty much doomed to fail. If you approach each circumstance or person in respect to each type of patience, there is a greater chance you can see beyond the stress and find a greater peace. For instance, my two year old throws his five hundred and second tantrum of the day (you think I'm exaggerating?). Normally, I would be given to melt down right along with him, because I just keep hoping that he'll get it. If instead I approach him with mercy, I'll be more likely to see that he's missed a nap, is hungry, or is one of any number of other things that cause toddler melt down. The plain truth is he's a normal two year old, just beginning to really grasp adult concepts, but unable to control himself to apply them. I'm not saying that I will be able to keep myself level all of the time, and sometimes there's just nothing you're able to do, but perhaps if I begin approaching the situations that wear me down with hope, and the people who annoy and anger me with mercy, I'll be able to approach life with a sense of grace and peace. One of my life goals is that someday people will remember me and think, "Everything she did was done with grace and happiness."
I've actually tried to apply that premise this week. Instead of complaining, I've done things myself. When I feel like losing it when the kids are freaking out, I've instead turned to a different activity and shrugged off the impulse to scream right back. And it's made a difference. It's been really hard to control my ever present temper and keep a damper on angry feelings, but I've succeeded (for the most part). I'm learning to go more with the flow, instead of standing in the middle of it trying to redirect it. Perhaps I'll get there yet....