I shared on instagram a couple days ago about how the Lord and I have been in this intense and intimate season over the last couple months. – Fear not, there are no signs that it is slowing down anytime soon.
I have had several people ask me about what I do or have been doing to create this intense and intimate season with the Lord… That’s actually another blog for another day that I am working on; but, I will say, it requires a choice to press in rather than continue as is or pull away. You must choose to create space to communicate a lot throughout the day with our Sweet Savior, remove distractions (I haven’t watched Netflix in months.. and I haven’t been listening to the radio in the car either). – Write. Down. Your. Prayers. – Just do it, and copy impactful scripture into your journal. Everything else I will talk more about later in a different blog.
Ok, onto the actual Love is Patient portion of this…
Yesterday, I was fasting (apparently something that I am actually getting better at compared to the beginning of the year). At the beginning of this year I realized how absolutely terrible I am at fasting, but I have continued to press in and practice, and can say that I am actually beginning to feel like I am connecting with the Lord differently than I used to. (Yasss!)
So, I took my lunch time and went to just sit on a park bench to soak in the sun, attempt to dwell and abide in the Lord, and pray through a slew of different things turning over in my head and heart.
I can honestly say there was no overwhelming sweet or intensely confident “the Lord told me this” moment… But, what I do know is the feeling in my heart and stomach when the Holy Spirit meets me. Sometimes I have a hard time telling the difference between what is just my creative mind thinking as I pray and what is a picture from God. – I wish I could tell you how to do this, but I really I am just a baby in my figuring this out, so I cannot share much wisdom here. (However, you can go listen to my church’s series Whisper, it’s about hearing the voice of God. It’s very good.)
Yet, even when I don’t know specifically if something is inspired by God, or inspired by my creativity, I feel like it’s worth writing in my journal and revisiting until I have a sense for the accuracy of it!
So, back to the park bench… I “got” three separate things that I feel like are probably inspired by the Lord… Even if I didn’t get anything close to a confident assurance or audible voice.
Here are the three things:
Was a mental “picture” of me standing in front of a closed door.
I was getting ready to open it, to step into the next thing/season. I was full of anticipation and excitement, but I had paused to stop and take a deep breath to calm my nerves.
God or my own creative brain? I dunno actually, but does it matter? – Is there anything right or wrong with this mental picture? I do not think so at all, so I copied it into my journal to continue to pray over. But, maybe one day I will look back and see what that door was, what season was beyond it, and will be able to point to that park bench conversation and praise the Lord for this picture.
Or maybe it was my stomach just excited about dinner 😉 haha
The 2nd thing:
1 Corinthians 13
If you are not at all familiar, this is known as “the love chapter”… Basically everything you need to know about love: actions, attitude, perspective etc.. are all spelled out here in this chapter.
The 3rd thing:
The ending of “Faith, Hope, and Love” – This actually hit me as I was standing up from the park bench to walk back, and it felt a little like a resounding gong in my head.
So, before I had even got back to my desk to dig into this more, I found myself reciting what I knew from this passage, and then pulling out my phone to read through all of the things that “love” is.
As I walked back, I settled that the Lord’s answer to the things I had been praying through on the park bench boiled down to this: Faith, Hope, Love.
I was both happy, full of peace, and had a bit of an “well crap” moment all rolled into one.
Once I got back to my desk, I proceeded to look up the main portion of 1 Corinthians 13 in several different versions. My favorite two versions for this passage are the ISV and NLT, and while I read the whole chapter, I focused mainly on verses 4-7 & 13.
However to make it easy for you, the ISV version of these passages reads like this:
Love is always patient;
Love is always kind;
Love is never envious or arrogant with pride.
Nor is she conceited, and she is never rude;
She never thinks just of herself or ever gets annoyed.
She never is resentful; is never glad with sin;
She’s always glad to side with truth, and pleased that truth will win.
She bears up under everything; believes the best in all;
There is no limit to her hope, and never will she fall.
Right now three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Can you insert yourself into this and it still hold up? – I can’t. At least not all of the things, and certainly not every day.
Humorously, after all was said and done and the day was over, one of my prayers as I laid in bed was:
“Lord, I don’t want to be patient anymore…” – Which is super fun given my conversation on the park bench earlier that day with God.
For a chuckle, be sure to read my blog post from just 2 weeks ago on cultivating patient endurance.
What has struck me the most is that Love is always patient. Period. – I am certainly not even consistently the FIRST THING mentioned as to what love looks like and how it tangibly plays out.
I have so far to grow.
Just so we’re clear though, I do not believe I am the exception, and this doesn’t mean I am beating myself up over my failures, nor does it make me think that everyone around me does this well. What this all does is highlight for myself once again that no matter what anyone else is or isn’t doing, I am responsible to carry out the command of Jesus to love Him and love others (well).
I like the ISV version of this passage, because love is described as “she”, so it is easier for me to see and connect these actions to myself for comparison.
Some of the areas where I realize I actually need a lot of work:
I am not patient (even if I am working on it),
I often think just of myself,
I definitely can get easily annoyed,
I for sure get arrogant with pride (the “I don’t need you” kind of pride),
I really do not believe the best in everyone all the time,
and there may possibly be a limit to my hope.
However, these three remain:
Faith, Hope, Love.
The greatest is love; because Jesus is Love. He died, resurrected, and since He is love: Love restores me every single day.
Now cycle back through the list…
Jesus is Patient.
Jesus is Kind.
Jesus is never envious or arrogant with pride.
Nor is Jesus conceited, and Jesus is never rude;
Jesus never thinks just of himself or ever gets annoyed.
Jesus never is resentful; is never glad with sin;
Jesus is always glad to side with truth, and pleased that truth will win.
Jesus bears up under everything; believes the best in all;
There is no limit to Jesus’ hope, and never will Jesus fall.
Right now three things remain: faith, hope, and Jesus. But the greatest of these is Jesus.
If Jesus is restoring me every day, if His mercies are constantly new (because He is constantly making morning somewhere), then I too am love and patient and kind and my hope knows no limit (and on and on)…
The difference between me, left to my own, and who I am in Christ is astounding.
If you experience love and patience from me, I can most certainly assure you it is the change that has occurred through my Sweet Savior.
Because I believe honesty is essential…. My prayer stands, “Lord, I don’t want to be patient.” – Yet, even still, I will choose to follow Him and do my best to choose patient endurance too.
He has told me to cling to Faith. Hope. and Love. With this means more of the Fruit of His Spirit must be learned and cultivated within me so that I can endure through a myriad of life’s seasons and relationships. My want and desire to succumb to my impatience doesn’t get to be what guides me, obedience to what He has told me is what guides me and ultimately determines what I will do.