Okay, um, it didn't work. By "work," I mean that I didn't transform into a beautiful butterfly. It's something that I am always going to have to be mindful of, I think. But choosing to focus on it did help. One thing that I realized was that in order to change what was coming out of my mouth, I really needed to change my heart.
So, I thought of the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.According to these verses, I have crucified my sinful passions (yelling in anger) and desires (selfish motives instead of selfless ones), and that it is my choice to keep in step with the Spirit. I know that it's not as easy as snapping my fingers, but I also know that the battle has already been won. I am all of these things. I have to be led by the Spirit instead of my own sinful desires. Easier said than done.
I skipped to numbers four and five on the list of fruit. That's because for me, love, joy and peace are not struggles right now. I love my children and my husband dearly. In spite of the fact that I love them, I do not always act out with patience and kindness, so I am not showing true love.
I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.Dictionary.com defines patience as, "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like." I'm thinking right now that if I looked up impatient, I might find my picture. Children are slow, they are irritating, and sometimes annoying. I do not bear up well under this (but remember, I do love them).
The definition of kindness is the quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic. The second definition even references being forgiving.
I am taking these together, because I think that my lack of patience is definitely unkind. I'm hoping that seeking after kindness will just crowd impatience out of the way, as I put the needs of others before my own and have compassion for their struggles or distractions.
I will pray daily for patience and for the fruit of kindness to be exemplified through my actions. I am going to also choose to take this command and sweet promise of Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."