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Amanda Lawrence shares what she sacrificed this Lenten season.

A mild answer turns back wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)


Practically every day of my existence has involved a visit from my impatience goblin, a nasty little devil who provokes me to get mad and lose my cool. It rears its ugly head when I’m short with my son. Or when I forget where I left something (like my keys or laptop).

My impatience goblin isn’t all bad. Sometimes it prevents me from getting trapped in useless relationships or dead-end jobs. It tells me I’m hungry or need more water; however, those are exceptions, not rules.

The impatience goblin often threatens my peace, reminding me I’m not in control. In the aftermath of its visits, I’m regrettably stuck remembering that the world doesn’t revolve around me. The stress of my frustrations takes a toll on my household mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Even when my snappy outbursts worked, the hurt feelings indicated this wasn’t how a family should communicate. Those moments after I lose my temper linger with us like hot coals scorching our skin. Yet somehow, I never learn!

I often contemplate my impatience.

Why am I rushing to get from point A to point B?

There’s never an appropriate answer.




Days before Ash Wednesday, my impatience goblin got the better of me while my son was practicing driving. I maintained my peace on the back roads, highway, and almost to the end while he circled a nearly empty parking lot looking for a space.

“Just park!” I snapped.

Why? I couldn’t tell you. We had nowhere to be and nothing to do except practice driving. My goblin’s reaction tarnished what should have been a celebratory occasion. We both felt awful. That catalyzed me to consider why I’ve accepted my impatience for so long.

I took it to Adoration and Confession. While praying my penance, I put my priorities in order, remembered that heaven is the goal, and gave my annoyances to God. In those mindful moments, I recognized why surrendering snappiness might make for a more fruitful penitential season. So, I sacrificed the ugly parts of my impatience goblin and its angry, aggravated outbursts for Lent.

Acknowledging the root of impatience helps address it.

For me, it’s sadness and anxiety because, while it seems like I’m in a rush, the future terrifies me. Time moves fast around us, but I feel stuck in the mud going nowhere. The irritable reaction became a club to beat back my apprehension.

My son is growing up, and we spend much of our days dealing with emerging adulthood: college and career exploration, SAT prep, driving, job hunting, interviewing, budgeting, the military draft (sure, there hasn’t been one since the 1970s, but he still has to register), and the cold hard reality that—literally overnight—he’ll be an adult on his next birthday.

Instead of soaking up the last of our fleeting moments together like butter on a warm roll, I let my impatience goblin spew venom over them.




Change is complicated. When life feels chaotic and totally out of control, I struggle. I’m only human. All I can do is my best. I want my son to understand that as he enters adulthood and faces the same situations.

That’s why I’m surrendering my need to manage things through agitated noise and offering my anxious feelings to God. I’m trying harder to be present when those uncomfortable occasions arise. That means fighting to keep my cool and giving constructive feedback, not snappy remarks. All this pressure sits heavy on my child’s shoulders, too, and my impatience goblin isn’t helping. It’s hurting by nurturing the goblin sprouting inside of him. What’s fed grows.

Rather than allow that nasty little devil to affect my mood, I’m tuning it out! Lent is about muting the distractions and roadblocks that keep us from loving God and our neighbor with every fiber of our beings. It’s more Him and a lot less us.

Sacrificing the impatience goblin involves trading bad habits for healthy, holy ones that persevere past Pentecost. It means rethinking reality, quieting my mind, and listening to what God wants instead of what I think I need or want to do. Some of my discernment comes from prayer and Adoration, and some from opening my heart and discussing things with my child.


Click to tweet:
Knee-jerk reactions won’t disappear overnight. Change takes work. That’s one reason it’s so hard. #CatholicMom


Knee-jerk reactions won’t disappear overnight. Change takes work. That’s one reason it’s so hard. I must prayerfully alter my thinking processes, expectations, and routines to see improvement. Fortunately, everything’s possible with grace!

Forgiveness became my prescription.

Resentment, grudges, and self-loathing don’t guide us to heaven—forgiving those who trespass does, even when we’re that person. In practicing absolution, I’m teaching my son to do the same.

Faith is a journey. Sometimes we get stuck in the mud. In those moments when we feel the most trapped, God is working on us. Spiritual growth hurts, but the growing pains are worth it!

Please pray I’ll remember that during these transitional times.



Copyright 2023 Amanda Lawrence
Images: Canva