I have a confession to make….
I’m an impatient person by nature. Some of my dear friends who read my blog are probably muttering under their coffee breath, “well said, captain obvious!” But for some of you that I might not interface with on such a frequent basis, or those out in reader- land, the word “impatient” may not be your choice adjective dumped onto the heap when describing me.
Just ask my youngest when we’re trucking down the 2244 in Austin, a consistent 5 minutes late to the beginning of Nutcracker rehearsals and the lights don’t time right. Even worse….when I’m stuck behind those “turn left” vehicles when there is no left hand turn lane. You should be required to attach some sort of device that lights up ¼ mile before you go and pull that move because I get suckered every time thinking the left lane will be faster and inevitably, I get behind a left turner….and watch all those right hand lane people go flying past me. I need a deep breath just thinking about it.
Or, ask the security personnel at Target who get to look at you through those big eyeballs in the sky when the person in front of me chats up the clerk so much that the clerk ACTUALLY stops scanning items because they are so busy talking! I know, momma, I remember the days when the Target checker was the only big person you talked to all day…but how about talking to the guy outside getting the carts because I AM LATE! (I MIGHT have spent too long lingering in the home section when all I came for was some dog food. Really, this boils down to my lack of planning and now I’m throwing the poor friendly customer in front me under the bus. Yeesh…. Writing sure does bring out self-reflection).
Webster’s dictionary defines patience as “willing to accept or tolerate delay” …”without getting upset”
Shoot. To exercise patience we can’t just be willing to accept or tolerate a delay, we actually have to have a happy heart about it. Honestly, given the first half of that definition I could actually muster up the discipline to pull off. Deep breathing, wringing my hands, some sort of mantra under my breath (even if it’s a bad word…it’s still soothing when repeated over and over.) No really- I mean you and I could just whip out our phones and scroll la-la land when the person in front of us can’t find their credit card, or snuck 34 items into the express check out.
But be in a good disposition about it? Whoa…that’s asking a lot.
I was talking to a friend recently about a situation in her life that seems to be frozen; a situation that unfortunately, leaves her a bit stuck in an awkward spot. And while I was commiserating with her and letting her vent it out, I feel like God spoke so clear to my heart and said,
“Sometimes your patience isn’t for other people, It’s for the situation I’m working out high above you.”
We can get so caught up in our lives that every time there is a delay, we make it personal. But what if we looked at those situations that required our patience from a different angle? What if we realized that we get the opportunity to be one small tiny part of God’s big plan? On a totally small, insignificant note I could go back to that situation in which I’m always stuck behind the left-turn car on 2244 and realize the car is turning into the small hospital up the hill because they are delivering their baby? What if that delay saved my son and I from being in an accident further down the road?
Shifting our eyes off ourselves and are limited ability to understand God’s great plan allows us to defeat the enemy who simply came to kill, steal and destroy our joy…and lets face it… nothing kills a joy-buzz like the stress that comes along with impatience!
Seriously though, on a bigger note, can I just encourage you? Can I tell you today to take heart and find some sliver of joy in the “meantime” while God is working it all out for our good? Can I shower you with my past experiences and tell you some of those seasons of needing patience have worked themselves out and I’m always floored by how they did? That God was working fervently on my behalf in the background? Can I admit to you that I’ve got a few of my own areas of impatience…beyond the check out lines…and I have to remind myself that God’s plan is simply bigger than we can think or imagine…that he works all the crazy and mundane out for our good?
I hope the next time you find yourself frustrated or impatient you’ll remember that God sees you…he’s even okay that you’re NOT always okay with his request for more time while he works out his big plan. (Boy, that’s another blog post waiting to happen!) Lift your eyes from your perspective…rest assured there’s always a reason for the delay; we may not always see it, sometimes it will make sense in the future or around the bend. But sometimes that’s what faith is all about.
Inspired by: Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:25 and definitely James 1:3