Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Opportunity to Grow

The definition is hard to live up to: "possessing or demonstrating quiet, uncomplaining endurance under distress or annoyance," (Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary, Vol. 2) Wow! When measured against this standard, I have to admit I'm not a very patient person. From TV shows to movies, I've been lulled into thinking that even the most difficult problems can be solved within 30-90 minutes. When this fails to be the case in 'real' life, I default to impatient mode.

Case in point. A silly example. I can't understand why so-and-so doesn't get the concept of keeping things cleaned up. There are numerous Bible verses that applaud being a good steward of the things we own and discourage poor stewardship. Isn't the message clear? Maybe if I say it a few more times, it'll sink in. When it doesn't, I can feel my patience wearing thin and my annoyance rising to a dangerously high level. Time to regroup.

Was Rome built in a day? No. And the truth is, I didn't learn everything in a day, either. In fact, as I go about my daily chores, putting clothes away, emptying the dish washer, getting out clean towels, I have to admit that although things look tidy on the surface, some of the closets I open are sadly in need of organization, too. Time to give up on requiring that things be neat and tidy? No. Just time to exercise some patience.

My Heavenly Father is the perfect example of patience. Take a look at the Psalmist, David's, description of Him, "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth," (Psalm 86:15, KJV). When I think about all the times I've chosen to do things my way, I can only say I'm thankful that He's patient with me!

Because it's part of His nature, He chooses to be patient with people even when they dismiss Him. He desires every person's salvation, and continues reaching out to each one, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance," (2 Peter 3:9).

As I consider these verses, I realize that the Lord is working to grow patience in me at the same time He's working to grow good stewardship in that other person. Going through frustrating times and difficult circumstances will offer me opportunities to exercise patience. His goal is the same for both of us - growth. And the sooner I realize that growth is an on-going process, the better!

Are you a patient person? If not, you can ask the Lord to develop this fruit of the Spirit in your life beginning today!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the circumstances that You're using to develop patience in my life. Help me to do what's right, maintaining a heart of compassion for others. Thank You for the growth that is sure to follow. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. Hhmm, I think that in general I have learned to be patient, but sometimes I am not! Sometimes I kind of flip... get angry or frustrated about something and that surprises me. It tells me I am a work in progress, always :)
    Good post Maria, thanks.

  2. Marja - Great to see you! Thanks for your honesty! Sometimes my anger and lack of patience sneak up on me - leaving me shocked with myself. It's good to remember that I'm a work in progress! Thanks for the reminder!! Have a blessed week, friend!:)

  3. I'm more patient now than I've ever been thanks to a shift in my thinking. I used to think that if something was clearly important, then my loved one was wrong for not believing that such-and-such was pressing. I've come to terms with the fact that I don't have to understand my loved one's reasoning, but I do have to accept it.

    I'm a work in progress, too, Maria! But there has been one unexpected benefit of exerting patience with others: it has caused me to be more patient with myself. I think it's interesting how treating others in a better and more balanced way tends to have the effect of causing us to be kinder to ourselves. Being patient is a win-win. :-)

    Thank you for your post. Have a beautiful rest of the week.

  4. Hi Maria -

    Ouch! Just yesterday, I had to get away for a moment and pray for an attitude adjustment. My patience at that point was a mere thread.

    Thanks for an excellent post.

    Susan :)

  5. Janette - So good to see you! And you make a great observation! I hadn't thought about the added benefit of patience towards myself. Appreciate your thoughts! Hugs and blessings!

  6. Susan - Thanks for your honesty! You chose the right avenue to straighten things out - prayer! I love the pattern laid out in the Psalms - David poured out his heart to the Lord (the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly!) In the end, he praised the Lord. I think developing patience helps us keep the proper perspective and allows us to turn more quickly to praising the Lord! Have a blessed week, my friend!

  7. I am a work in progress in the area of patience. In some areas, I am farther along than I used to be, in others, not so much. Raising children and maturing have taught me a lot, but there are still triggers that set me off. I know too, that stress, family situations, and hormones can contribute to my lack of patience at certain times. Believing for a balanced and Godly approach to everything. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  8. I have to agree with you about wanting the 90 minute fix. It's seared into our brains. Fast food, fixed shows (like you said), fast internet. Anything, anytime.

    Waiting and patience is hard.

    Am I a patient person? It depends on what I have to be patient about. I tend to get frustrated after I've counseled someone more than twice about a particular problem and they do not do anything I've suggested and things stay the same. I lose patience fairly quick in this matter.

    I tend to have more patience with people who aren't my family. Terrible isn't it? :)

  9. There are times when I think I'm patient, then something little will jump out at me and I just snap. Those are the times I realize I'm using my own strength to work on the patience/self-control, instead of resting in the peace that the Spirit layers on me.

    I'm learning though. Publishing is certainly not a fast occupation. Just like with anything else, it is through daily practice of resting in the Spirit that will hold us up when patience is required.

    Excellent post!