Thursday, October 6, 2011

Patience & Faithfulness

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
I think the one that has stuck with me the most is the second one. Sometimes when I'm in the store and I have to wait in line for *gasp* 10 minutes (generally less) to check out, I ask myself if I am suppressing my annoyance. I think what I like most about that definition is that I can still feel annoyed I just have to keep it from leaking out of me in visible ways. I tell myself that's the first step in mastering this thing called patience. I figure after I can keep my annoyance inside maybe I can start decreasing the amount of annoyance I feel until one day I just don't get annoyed at all.

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.

1 comment:

  1. My friend, you are more patient than you realize. The number of times I have seen you set aside time when you could be busy working on something and just stay the extra time at our house for the unexpected dinner invitation, to spend time holding your "nephew" Corbin, to help with dishes just because you want to spend time with Jen... well it happens more than you think.

    In fact, you did all of those last night, and I don't think, from this post, you even realized how patient you can be. We can all get better at patience, true. But don't sell yourself short by comparing your blooper reel to someone else's highlights.

    See you again soon