Face it – we are human. We aren’t convinced to do many things if we aren’t shown the value in doing them first. Even some of the mindless things we do (Candy Crush comes to mind) are done because some genius somewhere has created a game that rewards our brain in some fashion that keeps us coming back again and again. (If anyone finds the Candy Crush Cure, let me know.) I hope what I can share with you today will help you discover just how precious your patience is and what value it can bring to your life.
You may not want to hear about patience and feel you’re too busy to bother, but I humbly ask you to stick with me. This does get good!
I thought I was patient but justified my bouts of impatience as being someone else’s fault. Sometimes I thought patience was weakness since society leads us to believe that “making things happen” was the key to success. My impatience seemed harmless when I was single. However, impatience steps up to an entirely new level with a spouse and children in the picture. Now, impatience becomes a force to be reckoned with in the home. Impatience can fill the air and irritate the atmosphere like stink on a skunk. I’m embarrassed to say that what little patience I thought I held flew out the proverbial window when daily progress depended on the cooperation of my husband and children. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
If the story ended there, I wouldn’t be posting this today. I’m not claiming to be Mother Teresa by any stretch of the imagination, but thankfully, I have changed. The best proof I received of my change came from someone very close to me.
A few years ago, I was encouraging someone with my story about what a mess I used to be, the pain my life had dealt me, and how much I had changed in recent years. As I spoke, I became conscious of my son standing next to me and I said, “I am not the same person I was a few years ago. You can ask my son. He’s seen the change.” We both turned to Ethan and there were tears in his eyes. He choked up a bit and nodded saying, “Yes, she has changed.”
I hadn’t expected the conviction in his words, but I washed with gratitude. When I began to follow Christ anew after my excursion into atheism, I determined in my heart that I would be real. I told God I would not be one person in church and a different person at home. My walk with Christ would start and end in my home. So, to hear my son tell people I am different and see how he listens to me when I find “teaching moments” means the world to me. It is the only validation to my change that I need. It is why I seek to share how I have changed and the hope that is out there for everyone. Frankly, if I could walk away from despair, depression, anger, and frustration then anyone can with God’s help.
Patience is one of the character traits (the Bible calls it “fruit”) that I focused on. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us “Love is patient, love is kind…”
One key to patience is determining where we are placing the most value: people or success. Mastering patience (or developing this fruit) is within grasp when you can find more value in loving the people around you than in checking something off your ‘to-do’ list. Ouch. I know. Got me in the heart too. Stick with me. Like I said this is good.
When I began to work on being more patient, the first thing I noticed was how my impatience changed the atmosphere of a room, put stress on those around me, and took away my peace. The next thing I began to see was how my choices to be patient allowed me to relish the moments more, remain peaceful, accomplish more, and enjoy my family. I learned quickly that accomplishing tasks are not as important to God as loving the people around me.
That was huge to me. Modern society leads us to believe our success is found in how much we achieve and what all we are ‘doing.’ This message is prevalent in and out of the church scene. Sadly, it feeds impatience when doing something is more important than loving and serving somebody. When accomplishment becomes our measurement of success then building up and strengthening the hearts of people seems trivial.
As I re-read the New Testament with the sole purpose of getting to know Jesus the first thing that jumped out at me was how patient He was even when He was interrupted again and again. While on His way next mission, He would be stopped again and again by hurting people. He received each request with patience and assured each of their value to Him. His patience and kindness touched me. I saw a God that was truly patient and kind. He was not driven by an agenda or to-do list. He was driven by showing God’s love to people.
As I made the accomplishment of tasks secondary to modeling patience and kindness to my children, I found something truly amazing! Life began to flow more smoothly and I could accomplish more in a shorter period of time. If I ran late by practicing patience and kindness in front of my children, the time was made up for me somewhere along the way. Life began to be more peaceful and I could see it on my sons’ faces. I truly realized the blessings to obedience. Once I saw the benefits of patience it became easier to take a deep breath and choose patience the next time things seemed to be going awry.
When we choose to see the value in the moment, the value in the people around us, and the value of calming ourselves to not act out our impatience, we will begin to see the blessings on the other side of our obedience. We step aside and say “I will honor you, God, with my attitude and trust You with the end result.” And He does not disappoint!
Our “wait” will become easier to manage as we keep our eyes on loving people and trusting God to help us with what needs to be accomplished. The problem with impatience is that pressures us into thinking that there is something or someone more important than where we are at and who we are with right now. In reality, the most valuable moment is now and the most valuable accomplishment is showing God’s love to those around us. Patience is a beautiful thing that pays dividends and has immense value. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.
More on this next post! Thanks for taking the time to read today.