You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. - James 5:8
I have never waited well. I'm a doer, not a "waiter". I’m also extremely solution oriented - I see a problem, and I immediately go about brainstorming solutions, then I pick one and go. I move through those steps so quickly at times that I often frustrate the people around me. Couple that with the fact that I tend to be a fairly organized person who can be extremely efficient with my time and my processes, and you've got someone who doesn't wait well. Waiting wastes time, I'd rather get stuff done. I'm that person who brings a bag of work with me any time I have to sit in a waiting room because I don't like to "wait", I like to do. I just don’t sit idle well. Now, none of that is necessarily bad. God created me to be an organized thinker and an efficient processor - neither of those are any better or worse than the fact that God created the next person to be a creative thinker or a dreamer. But that aspect of my personality does lead to my downfall when I'm stuck in a situation I cannot change and I need to wait on Him.
Waiting is such an important step in growing our faith and trust in Him. It is in the waiting that He roots out all those little nooks and crannies that hold our flesh. It is in the waiting that He reveals our weakness, our lack of faith, our pride. It is in the waiting that He breaks us, but it is also in the waiting that we can see Him magnified. It is in the waiting that we come to find His strength and He transforms us.
Without the waiting, God cannot do the sanctifying work He does in our hearts. The moments we are waiting - whether it's in a line of traffic or for our child to accept Christ - are powerful opportunities to welcome God into every moment and keep our hearts renewed in him. Waiting is part of His plan for us.
But we can't simply become a more patient person by thinking we should. We can't just determine we are going to be more patient because that's biblical and we want to be Godly in our conduct. That strategy may work for a little while, but chances are good you will fail and end up back where you started because you never really took care of the problem. In our own power, we simply cannot be more patient because in our own power, we are inherently self focused and we want what we want when we want it.
No, to become more patient in the waiting, we must dive deeper into our hearts, surrendering and seeing Christ's strength in those moments we need patience in the waiting. That process starts with getting at the root of why we are struggling with patience. But we can't think in general terms, we must think in very specific terms - for example, the reason I am not patient when trying to get my kids out the door is a very different reason than the reason I am not patient in a trial with my son’s salvation.
God very intentionally places you in a situation where you need to wait, and He does it because He wants to expose a portion of your heart that needs work. Instead of getting frustrated in the moment, pause and ask Him to reveal to you what He sees so that you can begin the process of changing your heart.
When we find ourselves struggling with patience, we need to stop and ask ourselves why. What is really going on here? Why am I really upset? When I dive deeper into different situations where I lack patience, I find two issues underneath my lack of patience: control and fear. When I am impatient in situations like trying to get out the door and something is holding me up, or things seem to be going wrong in my day, and I really ask myself what is going on in my heart, it's a control issue. The bottom line is I'm not getting what I want. I have an agenda for the day, and it's not going the way I want it to go. The focus in on me. I want what I want when I want it. I want to be in control of my day. Digging beneath the control is often a fear of man. I worry about what other people will think if I run late or I don’t get something accomplished well.
In contrast, when I am struggling with a lack of patience in a bigger trial, like waiting on the Lord to heal and save my son, I find control issues as well, but when I dig deep beneath the control, I find fear. I am fearful that my son will never heal, will never change, will never be saved. Fear is a lack of trust in the sovereignty of God. When we fear, we don't trust God will work things out the way we want them to work out. Fear is forgetful. It forgets the fact that in His sovereignty, God is working all things out for good. Fear means we want to be God because we don't trust God to be God, we don't trust that He can or He will.
Both control and fear are sin - they are self-focused and they call into question the sovereignty of our God. As we see these sin issues, we must fall to our knees and confess and repent of those sins, and we need to do it specifically for the moments we lack patience - far too often we ask forgiveness for losing our patience, but that's just scratching the surface and will never bring about true change. Allow Him to see your sin for what it is, and confess the underlying cause of your impatience. That's when you'll see a change, and that's when you'll feel His rush of strength upon you.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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