You absolutely can't do it in your own strength. You can never be strong enough, smart enough, resourceful enough. Putting others first just doesn't come naturally. Laying aside what you want, to serve another with grace and contentment - that is what God calls you to. You can do it only when you rely on the strength that Christ works in your, the love that he supplies, and the perseverance that the Holy Spirit provides.
Heaven at Home
This is something I need to be reminded of daily. Christ's love, Christ's strength, Christ's grace, Christ's patience, all of these working through my and pouring out into the lives of my little family are the only way I will ever be able to please Him (or make it through a day without having a temper tantrum for that matter!)
One example from this week of Christ's grace flowing through me that I'm so grateful for happened on Wednesday. I've been trying to do a better job of keeping things picked up...and of making sure the kids help. This doesn't always go over so well. Like most kids they LOVE making a mess but aren't so keen on cleaning it up. So Wednesday morning I asked my 4 year old to pick up the toys in the living room (because we'd been doing a good job of keeping stuff picked up there weren't very many!) and she decided to throw a big fit about it. Normally this would have earned her a spank and then she would have had to pick up the toys away, but I decided to try something different.
I told her after she finished picking up all the toys she could pick out ONE toy, and that was the only toy she would be playing with for the rest of the day. Wasn't too tramatic right then, she thought hard about it and then chose her doll house (smart kid! Way to get a lot of toys all rolled up as one!)
Anyway, the whole one toy thing didn't seem to impact her much until naptime, when she wanted her doll Fiona.
THEN, THEN it was the end of the world. She was tired (it was naptime after all), she and Fiona ALWAYS sleep together, and she was just done. A large fit ensued. Normally, in my own strength, by this time in the day, I probably would have been close to loosing it. I probably would have told her (in no uncertain terms!) that she was acting spoiled and selfish and if she didn't stop she would have to be punished. BUT on this particular day, because God was pouring out His grace through me I realized what a teachable moment this was.
I sat down on the edge of the bed and calmly told her I understood how upsetting it was to not have Fi for naptime. I reminded her how blessed she was to have Fi at all and we talked a little about how much she loves her. Then I pointed out that the main reason she throws a bit fit about picking up her toys is because she isn't grateful that she has them. We talked about how God has blessed us with so much and that he expects us to be responsible for what he's given us, for her this means taking care of her toys and picking them up when she's asked to. Finally we prayed together and thanked God for Fi and all the other toys and then asked that he fill us both with grateful hearts that would rejoice in taking care of the things he has bestowed on us.
Now, I can't say that all of that made a lasting impact on my 4 year old, but it DID make a lasting impact on me...and it DID stop the fit and allow her to sleep (even without her doll.)
So, that's it. Why can't I remember how much better things work out when I do them in HIS strength and not my own?!?!