“One of Those Days”
Have you ever had one of those days in Kidmin? You know the kind, the day where you can feel yourself losing all semblance of patience. The kind of day where you find yourself praying during your lesson that the Holy Spirit will give you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Today was one of those days for me. The irony of it all is that Uncle Charlie’s “Fruit of the Spirit” song was actually part of our worship set this morning. Despite that, I felt myself losing patience by the bucket-full as the service wore on.
Now, I tend to have a lot of patience in most circumstances, and particularly when it comes to working in children’s ministry. I think patience is a must when it comes to working with kids, and a lack of patience is counterproductive in teaching kids about the character of God. After all, God’s patience has been tested time and time again throughout human history, and despite all that, he sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins so that I could spend an eternity with him. I love working with kids. I actually like the noise of kids laughing and talking and playing. Generally I can take most anything they dish out without losing a beat.
But, there was something different about this morning. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks and worn down – that may have had something to do with it, but that’s no excuse. Today was the perfect storm. The kids would not be quiet (and I don’t mean the normal chitter chatter that comes whenever you put a large group of kids in one room). Leaders were busy with their own things or occupied with other tasks and not really helping out. My patience was short to begin with, and my voice was just about shot. As I proceeded through my lesson, I felt myself getting more and more irritated – imagine that! Teaching God’s Word on the outside and on the inside feeling increasingly irritated every minute. For me, it brought to mind the words of James 3:9-10 about the tongue:
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Now, fortunately I was able to keep my tongue under control. Other than perhaps seeming a bit shorter and more irritated than normal, I’m not even entirely sure that the kids even noticed. But, I did! I noticed the effect of allowing my own emotions to impact my teaching rather than drawing on God’s strength to endure through a bad day. I was reminded, perhaps even more importantly, that God can and will teach us not only in the successes, but in the failures. Today could have been a total waste in children’s ministry, but in the end two great things happened:
- God reminded me that I need to rely on him and his strength rather than try to get by on my own.
- I had the opportunity to present the Gospel to a class of 28 kids.
Yes, today was one of those days – one of those days where God reminded me that it’s not about me, and one of those days where God reminded me of his greatness through my weakness. So, what do you do when you feel “out of sorts?” How do you refocus, regain your patience, and persevere in children’s ministry?