How many of you have ever prayed the well-known and regularly recited prayer that goes a little something like, “LORD, GIVE ME PATIENCE?!”
Yeah, I thought so. Me too.
As most of you may already know, I am a go-getter, a super impulsive decision-maker, and a “let’s do it without taking into account the potential risk” taker.
Needless to say, I am as impatient as it gets. Luckily, God loves me anyway. And thankfully, He loves me too much to leave me this way forever. So He’s been teaching me a ton about patience—and there are two things that He’s specifically taught me that I would love to share with you all.
God is patient. No, but for real. It may sound cliché and simple, but let that little nugget of truth sink deep into your being. The New King James Version of the Bible even translates the word patience into “long-suffering.” God literally suffers with us—for as long as it may take. Meanwhile, I can barely suffer for 5 minutes in heavy traffic (or for the 1 minute and 30 seconds that my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese takes to heat up in the microwave). Even better, the two Greek words in Scripture that make up the word “long-suffering” are “long” and “temper.” This basically means that God is not quick to blow His proverbial fuse—He’s slow to anger. He stays calm and He suffers alongside us through our bad decisions and rebellious ways. He doesn’t give up on us nor does He give in to frustration. Instead, He gives us the grace and mercy that we need to keep pushing forward—because He loves us that much.
If God is patient, then I need to be patient. Whoop, there it is. This is the hardest part of the lesson. It’s so wonderful to hear that God is patient with me and that He is willing to constantly put up with all of my (let’s just be honest and call it) crap, but the second I need to be patient with someone else, all hell breaks loose. If I am going to love people genuinely, and if I am going to be the woman that I am called to be (which is God’s daughter, a Christ ambassador, and a Truth spreader), then I need to treat others the way God treats me—with patience in love. That’s hard. But isn’t that the best way to share the Gospel with someone? By living it? Let’s be real. Patience is hard to come by these days. Everywhere you look, whether it’s on TV or in magazine ads, you’ll find messages about “instant gratification.” We want results and rewards and retribution, and we want it now. But the Lord calls us to be set apart from this world, He calls us to do things His way. Slow and steady wins God’s race…
And I am seriously the worst though. Whether its trusting in God for a husband, for a job, or for six-pack abs… I am as impatient as it gets. And when it comes to dealing with people, the struggle doesn’t get any realer. I got “saved” before my parents did, and when they didn’t understand or grasp my new beliefs right away, I got incredibly frustrated with them. I wanted them to “get it,” and I ended up throwing away my love and my patience for them in the process. It took me a long time to realize that their faith walk with the Lord was their own—and that my faith walk was…mine. That was about 8 years ago, and God is still teaching me this lesson with friends, co-workers, and family members today.
He’s also teaching me to be patient with myself. Who else struggles with this one? Yeah, I thought so, you’re not alone. Romans 8:1 says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” In the Sam’s Paraphrased Version of the Bible it says this, “Dude, cut yourself some spiritual slack. God sent Christ Jesus for a reason, and that reason is: you are impatient (along with so many other things) and you were in need of a perfect Savior to come to your rescue. You’re loved unconditionally and you’re accepted in spite of your sins. Now stop beating yourself up, and put a smile on that beloved face.” When I make mistakes, I need to show myself the same grace that God commands me to show others—and I need to show myself the same grace that God continuously shows me every single day. It’s not an easy task, but I’ve found that learning it and embracing it is worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears.
So take home message:
When you accidentally snap at someone in a moment of weakness and they respond with, “Hey now, don’t you know that patience is virtue”—instead of smacking that smug smile off their face and getting angry, take a few deep breaths and thank God for how His patience and love toward you never… ever end.