My one word theme for the year 2011 is "patience." How fitting. Everything about my life has required patience this year. And here's the gut level honest truth: it sucks.
I have never had patience. People used to tell me "Patience is a virtue." I would instantly complete the sentence with, "I don't have." Unfortunately patience one of those skills you have to practice in order to get better at it, and my version of practicing doesn't generally end well. Most of the time this "practice" ends in prayers that go a little something like this, "Jesus, I need patience--NOW!"
In order to really get a handle on patience, I wrote several definitions of patience in my journal at the beginning of the year. They included the following:
- the quality of bearing provocation, annoyance, hardship, misfortune or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like
- an ability to suppress restlessness and annoyance when confronted with delay
- quietly and steadily persevering
In the midst of learning to be patient, I've realized that this time is about more than just developing a useful skill. Forcing myself to wait, to be patient, has opened my eyes to the faithfulness of God. When I'm busy checking items off a list or making myself crazy trying to plan all the details of my life (specifically the ones I don't have any control of anyway), I don't have time to see that God's got it in control, that he's faithful to do what he's promised. But when I step back and wait on the Lord--when I suppress my annoyance I'm able to see past myself and into the depths of Almighty God's faithfulness.