Is being late really THAT big of a deal?

So the other day I was speaking to a friend when she sincerely asked me why I was always late. My first reaction, which was just for a second, was embarrassment. Youch, I WAS always late. But then I quickly turned indignant. I mean, is it really that big of a deal? Seriously? I felt as is she was giving me NO GRACE. But of course, I didn’t say anything. I just brewed on the inside. “Yep, hee hee” was the only response that spilled out of my mouth. Good thing it wasn’t anything else.

I’ve always struggled with being late. Always. Part of the problem? I’m Latina. Honestly, this stuff is hard wired!! It’s in my blood and I just can’t help it! At the last minute, I find myself doing fifteen things that each only take about 2 minutes, normally. So I end up flying around like a crazy lady, and end up being only ten minutes late. Not bad, right? There’s got to be someone else out there who does this, yes?

But of course, the slam dunk, airtight excuse? Nine children. That is NINE CHILDREN that I am responsible to keep alive. That should excuse me from any kind of expectation of being on time for anything. Right? And I have twins to boot. And they’re not even 2!! Can you all feel my pain??

I later told my husband about it, expecting an adamant agreement of the high levels of obnoxiousness from said friend’s comment. Instead, he gently said, “Well it seems like you ARE late a lot.”

Ugh. I felt like I was being called out AGAIN. BOOGER!! I couldn’t believe it. But this time, I took a few deep breaths and I decided to think and pray about the whole situation. And you know what I ended up realizing? My friend and my husband were right.

Now just to be clear, I’m not saying I shouldn’t ever be late and if I am, I should dutifully beat myself up. Life happens sometimes (exploding diapers, anyone?). But to blame my genes? I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought to myself, “Well, that’s just how I am! I can’t help it!” when in truth, I can help it. It just doesn’t come naturally to me, is all. I don’t have to squeeze in every last chore I need to get done in the 3 minutes I have to “spare” before I need to be somewhere. If I have a couple of dishes left in the sink, whatever. Or if the living room isn’t picked up, oh well. Exploding diaper? Well, yeah, I need to do that one. But that doesn’t happen often, and I know it. Those “other things” happen every day, and they’ve become part of my routine and a bad habit. In order to be on time, something’s got to give, and that something has to do with those bad habits I’ve formed and need to (gulp) break.

As for the number of children, that would go under the category of an everyday occurrence that is not going to change, so since that’s not going to change, something else needs to. Ahem.

Anyway, the point is that it’s so easy to excuse away bad habits. It’s embarrassing and humbling to accept reproof. But if I continue setting a bad example of punctuality, especially after being reproved, what kind of an example am I setting? Am I showing my kids a teachable spirit or a prideful one? Am I giving them good habits that will benefit them in the future? I mean, who wants to have an employee that is constantly running late? Besides the fact that I’m also giving my kids the unsaid example of not treating others as more important than myself or my time (Phil 2:3).

God’s Word says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17). UUUGGGHHH. I love/hate when God’s Word punches me right in the gut. But this one hits the nail right on the head. If I know it’s the right thing to do, but still choose to do whatever is easier or whatever feels good, that’s wrong. And it’s sin.

So I’m going to be more intentional about being punctual. Pray for me (PLEASE!). I know I will need all the help I can get. It’s so hard to break bad habits! Can I get a witness? But I’m going to be intentional about this. It’s probably going to look like a baby trying to learn to walk. I’m going to fall a lot more often then I’m going to stand and take a step, but I’m going to try and keep on trying, by God’s grace. I figure one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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