How are you doing with the whole patience thing?
I think consistently practicing patience is one of life’s most difficult challenges.
Whether I’m waiting in a long check out line, stuck in a doctor’s waiting room or anxious for the results of medical tests, dealing with an irritating individual or waiting for the answer to a long prayed request … exercising patience is hard.
It’s something I used to pray for until I realized the Lord doesn’t magically infuse patience into us – He typically chooses to teach us the benefits of patience by giving us opportunities to use it.
And those lessons in practicing patience although they have not been something I’ve enjoyed, I have learned that with God’s help I can remain calm and positive when I’m stuck in a challenging foot-tapping wait.
The truth is, you and I are always waiting for something. Always.
You may be waiting for…
- a baby to be born.
- school to start.
- a relationship to be restored.
- an important phone call.
- a job or promotion.
- the kids to go to bed.
- someone who’s running late.
- a celebration.
The list could go on and on, couldn’t it?
Some things are relatively easy to wait for but others…
Are downright frightening.
So. why would God, through the Apostle Paul, tell us to be patient?
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.Romans 12:12
I believe it’s because He is waiting with us. We are not alone!
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9b
Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.Matthew 28:20b
Because of the Lord’s presence, you and I can say…
I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
Even be patient when everything within us is screaming, “I can’t do this!”
If you’re like me, you could really use some practical do’s and don’ts to help when you’re in a season of waiting or suffering.
So, I thought you might like to know the things I’ve found helpful and those that definitely were not…
Things to avoid when you need to be patient...
Some waits are exciting but when you and I are waiting on news, or a job, or financial help … it can feel like the air is being sucked out of the room, making it hard to breathe. But this time is temporary and I can tell you I’ve lost precious days due to completely unnecessary fear-filled worry.
It’s so tempting to whine and complain when the wait is long and life is hard. But that too doesn’t really help. Pouting just makes me more miserable and unpleasant to be around.
After panicking and pouting, I have past experience with plotting my strategy to fix things myself. Working to manipulate my circumstances to facilitate this thing I want that’s not happening fast enough.
This is where I would tell God my plans and expect Him to get on board and make them happen. Moving ahead with plans is not in itself a problem … the problem here is that I’d been praying about my circumstances. I’d just grown impatient on God’s timing. But moving ahead when I sense I’m outside of His will for me never works out well in the long run.
And let me tell you, panicking, pouting, plotting, and proceeding on my own just made me difficult to live with . . . I didn’t even like myself very much.
Things to do when you need to be patient…
Always! In all circumstances!
Praise God in good times, and pour out your heart to Him when life is hard.
Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17
In His Word, God promises to hear us, to be with us, and to guide and direct us according to His perfect will. Those are things that can give us patience when everything in us wants to give up.
For the Lord your God is living among you.Zephaniah 3:17
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Do Practice Presence
Not only does God promise to be present with us but has given us each other to care and console, to just be there for each other when life is hard and the wait is long. He wants us to be connected … to listen, to hold, and to help.
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.Romans 12:!5
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2
Don’t give up. Live with faith and hope like you believe the wait is temporary and the answer is right around the corner.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.2 Thessalonaisn 2:16–17
Do Practice Peace
In all honesty, I can’t practice peace on my own … especially when I’m tempted to be impatient. But remember, the Lord promises His presence and that is the presence of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of peace…
May the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.2 Thessalonians 3:16
And praise God, He is willing to give us hard to explain or even understand peace one day at a time.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
So, you can…
I know, often living with patience seems like it is beyond our ability. And the truth … it is!
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
And Paul says that as the answer to the following…
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.Philippians 4:12
Whatever is going on, however long the wait with the Spirit’s help you and I can…
I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together and exalt His name.Psalm 34:1–3
With the Spirit’s help, maintaining hope, joy, and faith. And praise God, when it’s all said and done, that is the very definition of living with patience!
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