With Lent just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to focus on for these forty days. I've been trying to figure out how I'll go into the desert with the Lord - what should I give up, what should I start doing, how can I become a better Christian. I keep coming back to one thing - infertility, and it's not because of my obsession with it (well, maybe a little). Rather, it's because I need to, once and for all, begin to focus on the things I've been avoiding: Hope. Patience. Trusting God's will.
This may not sound like anything new. Hope, patience and trust are practically all I blog about. But the difference this Lent is that I'm going to stop talking and start doing.
I'm starting with patience. It's an underlying problem that needs to be tackled before I can begin to try to have hope or trust. It's something I need to work on to get me through each day.
pa·tience /ˈpeɪʃəns/ – noun: 1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
The definition of patience (from dictionary.com) really struck me. When I think about what it means to be patient I usually think it means getting through the day without being obsessed with infertility. It means getting rid of that anxious feeling in my chest when I think about how I want to be pregnant RIGHT NOW. But I never thought it had anything to do with not complaining. Reading this definition is actually what inspired me to become patient. In that one definition a directive was given to me, an actual instruction of how to accomplish it. Don't complain. Bear your misfortune, your pain, without complaining, becoming irritated or losing your temper. I'm an instructions person; I need to be told exactly how to do something. So this is a good start.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay
The important term here is willingness. I clearly don't currently have the ability. I may not even currently have the willingness; despair can be a comfortable place. I am very familiar with being irritable, angry, annoyed, impatient. But that's what Lent is for. I am going to be willing to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay because it is Lent and I owe that to God.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.
Perseverance. Even-tempered. Diligent. So not me! But, again, these are good instructions on how to be patient.
So how do I become patient? How do I suddenly stop complaining and become that even-tempered person I've always dreamed of? I think the secret ingredient, for me at least, is to simply act like I am. It worked when I was trying to have faith, so I should have faith that it will work when I'm trying to have patience.
So here's what I'm going to try to do:
1. I will try not to complain (not about infertility in general, but about the time-table)
2. I will try to be more even tempered and not completely break down
3. If I feel a break-down coming on, I will pray
4. I will set small goals, looking forward to the things happening in the days and weeks ahead
5. I will act outwardly as if I am patient
Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure this will work. I'm not sure I won't fail. But I've got to start somewhere or I'm just going to drown. Like I've said before, I know God doesn't want me to act like this. He's asking me to follow Him out of this. I'm not happy with myself, I don't want to be so hopeless, so impatient, irritable, angry.
I don't think there's anything wrong with my natural reactions to infertility. It's completely normal to be depressed and to grieve. But God wants me to grow as a result of this as well, or else it would be a complete waste of time.