I have a bad habit I wasn't aware of until recently. It's something that has replaced my too frequent "growl". It usually appears when I'm frustrated that the toilet hasn't been flushed, the kids wet the bed again, the baby won't sleep, or I have mountains of laundry to fold. I've tried to be more cognizant of my growling problem because I know it signals utter discontentment with my lot in life and communicates to my children that if you don't like what's happening to you, you can fuss and complain and that's OK.
But it's been replaced by the "sigh", which still communicates discontentment but in more of a "poor me" I don't deserve to slave all day in this kitchen, waiting on everybody, washing dishes. I don't deserve to have to clean up this muddy floor AGAIN. I shouldn't have to wash his sheets AGAIN. I shouldn't have to tell him to stop bugging his brother AGAIN. I already have more dishes to wash? Am I the only one who sees the pee all over the bathroom floor? And the newest one:
"I'm pregnant. I shouldn't have to ___________."
The sigh tells my children that I don't delight in them. It tells them I don't delight in the Lord as my strength and my salvation. It tells them that staying home and caring for children is a thankless job that I wish I didn't have to do but feel obligated to do. It's not accompanied by a smile. In fact, it removes all love from whatever task I might be doing.
So I suppose you could phrase my problem like this:
If I have a large family, but find myself irritated with the work that goes with it, I'm no better than a childless couple who finds kids annoying.
If I homeschool, but do it grudgingly then I am no different from the public school teacher who has no passion for her students and no fear of God.
If I attend church regularly, but complain about those who aren't as faithful as I am, I am the worst of hypocrites and might as well stay home.
If I live frugally with one car, no satellite TV, discount store clothes, a small house, and limited budget, but complain that I don't have enough to buy the toys I think I need, then my supposed self control with spending money is a sham and I'm really very greedy.
BUT if I tend to my family's needs with love, homeschool in view of making disciples, attend church joyfully, and rejoice in the provision God has for my life, I have LOVE, which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
So I pray for love, and I pray that my sigh will be one of contentment and rest and joy.