Every night when the house is asleep, the chores are completed and I’m alone, I make a cup of tea. As the tea kettle whistles I’ll choose a refreshing peppermint, relaxing chamomile or my favorite standby, sleepy time tea. Each sip slowly relaxes me as I let go of my day. About half way through my cup I’m ready to say, “God, I’m here. It’s quiet now and I can hear you.”
I treasure my tea time with God every night. It’s my time to offer thanks, ask for forgiveness and guidance, say my prayers and recharge my spirit.
A few weeks ago my five-year-old began waking up and sneaking into the kitchen during my treasured tea times. I’d gently remind her it was bedtime and walk her back to the bedroom. The situation did not resolve that easily. My daughter tested me by sneaking out again. The more she tested me the more frustrated I became. The more frustrated I became the more I began reacting and behaving badly. Soon the evening routine would spiral out of control and I’d be left angry, yelling and threatening “time-out’s” to a laughing five-year-old who clearly knew she was able to rattle me.
One night after my daughter snuck out of her room for the fifth time I finally put my hands up and pleaded, “God what are you trying to teach me here? Please help me.” My daughter began to giggle and said, “Mama, I’m just playing with you. I’ll go to bed.” Just like that she did go back to bed. What happened? No battle, no back-and-forth and no threats of punishment. I sat there and reflected on this event trying to understand the lesson.
I first had to understand why I got so rattled. I felt “entitled” to my tea time. I was a hard working mother and thought I earned my right to have a simple cup of tea every night to say my prayers. It didn’t seem like I was asking for a lot or expecting something unreasonable. When these interruptions began my behavior went from mild to unacceptable very quickly. If I couldn’t handle a simple disruption to my evening routine how was I suppose to handle all of life’s unexpected disruptions?
How many areas of our life do we feel “entitled” to certain things? We eat well and exercise and expect to be healthy. We treat people well and also want to be treated kindly. We receive a good education and expect to get a job.
This experience taught me three things. One, I learned sometimes we simply don’t get a break. Secondly, I learned even in the midst of prayer I’m still weak and reactionary. Finally, I learned sometimes when we hand our situation over to God and ask for His help our prayers are answered quickly and directly. Perhaps there’s one more lesson. I learned that my five-year-old has already outsmarted me and knows how to push my buttons.
Today’s Gift for Your Soul – When you find yourself losing control of a situation simply remember Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you”. When in doubt pray on your situation and then pray some more.