I have always said “I am not known for my patience…”
I don’t recommend identifying yourself as even a simple thing that is not from the Lord.
I naturally tend towards the side of being a bit of a whirlwind, charge ahead, figure it out as I go, and fly by the seat of my pants type person. I like to keep moving, feeling progress, and feeling stuck or stagnant feels more like jail than anything else. Can you imagine how I feel when God forces me to stop, pause, dwell, abide, and wait on Him?
On one hand, I desperately want to be obedient. But, on the other it is fighting my natural instincts. I feel a bit like a caged horse just anxious to move, to do something, to go, to take off and make progress.
Ahhh, but you see, patience is essential. Patient endurance is actually key to life with the Lord. – Crap.
I have been learning so much over the last couple of months, my themes get progressively harder and more nuanced. Each theme takes on a compounding weight with the previous themes…
But, true to form, here I am to share some of what I am learning.
Patient Endurance – It means the tolerant and even-tempered perseverance. It is the capacity or state of withstanding a hardship or stress, the act of persevering. The fact or power of bearing pain, hardship, or adversity.
For the longest time (aka pretty much my entire life) I have sorta separated out the Fruit of the Spirit. I have split them into two categories: the ones I am good at, and the ones I’m bad at. Naturally a lot of my life and actions are done through the lens of Kindness (pre-meditated thoughtfulness, consideration, and care for those around me)… Every single day, I am typically keenly aware of how what I do impacts those around me (sometimes for the worse, but also for the better).
Because honesty matters; what Fruit of the Spirit am I naturally bad at? Gentleness and Patience. – Shocked is no one ever.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, depending on the day, if I’m in a particularly unhealthy place, I’m bad at most of the Fruit of the Spirit!.. But, overall, on average, Gentleness and Patience are the struggles.
(A couple of years ago, my church did an “Elements” series. It was awesome, and I highly recommend checking it out to give you a good starting place too!)
So, I keep coming back to this:
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
– Galatians 5:25
When we are in-tune with the Holy Spirit, the evidence of that is each and every one of these descriptors:
Yet, throughout scripture I’m realizing that these qualities are not all equal. Some Fruit of the Spirit are gifted, others you actually have to work towards diligently, still others are primarily an overflow of time abiding with God, unfortunately some are straight up a willful decision in moments and situations, and then some are just cultivated over time.
Awesome. Not easy.
Self-control is cultivated.
Gentleness is a choice response; usually after wisdom and compassion have had a chance to work in and through us.
Patience, oh sweet dear patience is cultivated through difficulties. Repeatedly throughout scripture patience is linked to humility, gentleness, kindness, tribulations, proven character, hope, faith and love. – Ouch. There’s really no great and wonderful rainbows and butterflies; this one is a matter of grit.
Patience is cultivated.
Patience is learned and created through difficult situations, learning, growing and choosing the response.
Patience is born out of some of the worst seasons of our life that create compassion and love for others.
Also, just so we are clear, there is a huge element of patience that is connected to pressing into the presence of God. I have started to actually see the shift and change within me as I continue to spend more time abiding, dwelling, and going to God open-handed with every bit of who I am with the situations I am facing.
Here are a few things about patience that I am learning about in this accidental growth in patience processing season:
Patience cultivation is so freaking hard. – Like truly, learning patience means being aware of your mindset, your heart, the stress and situations you are facing, and being aware enough to know how to respond well… Even if that means actually not responding at all.
Patience is equated with perseverance, which means there is a longevity associated with it. There is nothing quick about patience cultivation.
Patience is a process. As in, I have realized that as I respond poorly in situations with little or no patience, I absolutely must spend some time processing what and why I didn’t have patience and learn from it.
I have realized that when I do not have capacity for patience, I am stress and overwhelmed, and likely tapped out. My only option and saving grace is for me to force space for myself to spend some time with God. – Over the last couple months, I have come to realize, no matter how busy I am or how pressed I feel, if I do not create daily time and space with God, patience is going to dwindle alarmingly quickly for me.
God is continuing to tell me to hold steadfast, to persevere, and then issuing the challenge of “are you going to be obedient?”… Only, the challenge has shifted slightly to “do you have the patient endurance to persevere through the process?”
This process; the re-shaping, learning, growing, and creating a new foundation within me.
This process is changing me intensely and incredibly from the core of who I am outward.
God has changed the game, He has adjusted the way He and I communicate, and He is teaching me about patient endurance day by day.
A huge part of this process has been God restoring the credibility I didn’t know had been damaged. I have started learning how to recognize my need for time with Him first before reaching out to someone else for comfort… It’s a huge step for me.
Each day, I feel as though I am living out and learning that in order to actually have patient endurance, I have no choice but to live by the, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” command in Matthew 6.
What’s coming soon, the stress of tomorrow or two weeks from now, it is literally too much to handle and it sends my fear, stress and anxiety over the edge… And graciously, lovingly with more tenderness than I realize, the Lord calls me back to today, to this moment, to Him, and asks me to Trust Him. – Allow Him to navigate the process and restore my faith and His credibility as I learn patient endurance. Some days, I easily do this with the feeling of contentment and grace, other days I am a waffling crazy person in my head and heart…. Who’s to say which way I will go each day!
Patient Endurance is intensely difficult because there’s a decision to choose steadiness that requires me to resolutely and dutifully hold firm and unwavering regardless of how I feel or see before me.
Patient Endurance begins to create a peace within your soul because of the time needed in abiding and dwelling with my Sweet Savior.
Patient Endurance forces me to confront my fears and the things I do not have control over and hand them over to the Lord trusting that His timing is better.
Patient Endurance changes you and slowly creates a calm confidence that God can be trusted.
God can be trusted. His timing is better than mine.
It will all be worth it in the end.