For all my efforts to, L.E.A.P. (Live, Enjoy, Add, and Pray) “generously” last month, I have come away with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the generosity of others: the generosity of God, my family, and my friends.
So, as I head into a month with a focus on patience, I especially want to add something, to be a blessing to others with an uplifting, unhurried calm, and not just to be learning from the example of patience I see in others.
Noah Webster’s definition is both encouraging and convicting; because it shows a secret key to patience, “a submission to Divine Will”. I believe this is the secret of contentment too, resting in the Sovereignty of the LORD. (My own determination and strength, my “constitutional fortitude” and “heroic pride”, just won’t cut it.)
PATIENCE - from Latin patientia, from patior, to suffer ... 1. The suffering of afflictions, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance with out murmuring or fretfulness. Patience may spring from constitutional fortitude, from a kind of heroic pride, or from Christian submission to the Divine Will. 2. A calm temper which bears evil without murmuring or discontent. 3. The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent. 4. Perseverance; constancy in labor or exertion. 5. The quality of bearing offenses and injuries with out anger or revenge. (American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828)
If this month is anything like the last five, I can be certain the LORD has had PATIENCE marked on His calendar and has relevant divine appointments scheduled in the coming days for me. In fact, He has already been preparing my heart.
As I write this, David Jeremiah is starting a message series on the book of Job (Tried, Tested, and Triumphant), I can’t help but smile again at God’s timing.
“Remember the patience of Job,” James 5:11.
Much of the last message (Stay Committed) of Jeremiah’s previous series (Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World) was about patience. In it Jeremiah half jokingly said, “Don’t ever pray for patience; because if you do, God will send you tribulation.” His audience chuckled, but I prayed for patience anyway.
I am praying for patience…
and here’s why…
- I need it!
- I’m going to go though trials and sufferings anyway; so I might as well ask the LORD to help me face these testings and come through it all victoriously and with something to show for it, like increased faith and character.
- Without patience, I (and the people around me) will only be more frustrated and miserable. As I see it, either I will develop patience, or I will be testing everyone else’s patience. (So, I’m basically asking for patience out of consideration for my husband and children, my friends, and even strangers that will have to interact with me.)
- Also, I’m asking the LORD to give me patience for the sake of not digressing into a grumpy, demanding, and irritable old lady. I don’t want to stay the same, and LORD have mercy on us all if I become any more impatient!
- (And, maybe, the LORD might just generously give me some initial patience outright, some seed-maturity to grow from, a foundation to build more patience on.)
I want to L.E.A.P. PATIENTLY.
So, I want to LIVE, “just live” (relax, breathe… , contentedly taking life as it comes), patiently! Not up-tight, not controlling, not demandingly, not anxiously, not angrily, not irritably… but patiently!
I want to ENJOY patiently. Not waiting till circumstances are “perfect” or life is stress free, which may never happen, but with patience, trusting in the Sovereignty of God, giving grace, and able to experience the JOY of the LORD and appreciate His blessings with an unhurried, cheerful disposition.
- whether I am in traffic (and get to listen to an entire sermon on CD),
- have a flat-tire (and have unexpected time to relax and read),
- am in a stand-still price-check line at the grocery (and get to listen to elevator music or visit with someone),
- or must correct a child or forgive for the 70 X 7 th time (and can be thankful for the fact that I have a child/family/friends)
In any circumstance, I can still be at peace and filled with joy with patience.
I want to ADD patiently. Rather than rushing about and making others feel that they are an interruption or an irritation, I want to be an inviting source of calm especially in stressful or irritating situations. (Just as it was the example of others’ generosity that taught me to be generous last month, I hope that my patience might be contagious.) I want to…
- smile anyway
- laugh, find humor in the situation
- when circumstance are frustrating, I will pray
- when there’s a delay, I will play a game, start a conversation, give thanks, or simply notice the beauty of the world around me,…
- I aim to continue to apply all that I’ve learned about being attentive, intentional, and generous over these past months!
I want to PRAY patiently, persevering in prayer for those unanswered request and waiting on the LORD with a quiet, faith-filled, trusting heart.
My personal challenge:
This month, I am marking every verse I read in my Bible that pertains to patience, self-control, perseverance, endurance, and long-suffering; choosing 29 verses (one for each day) to meditate on.
And, I want to list 29 things that test my patience to identify the circumstances that stir up an unsettled spirit in me, those issues that provoke me to respond selfishly or in anger or to step in to take control of things that are meant to be controlled by the LORD.
Dear Seeker, last month I rediscovered how much fun it is to be generous, to spontaneously bless a stranger and be equally blessed by their initial surprise and then the lingering smile on their face. But, as unnatural as it is for the selfish-me to be generous, it is even more difficult for me to be patient. If you feel this way too, join me in admitting weakness, and rather than being defeated, let’s depend on the LORD and bravely ask for Him to gently and generously grant us patience.
Ask God to make you aware of where and when you are most vulnerable to being impatient, rude, harsh, selfish, or controlling. Let’s ask Him to give shape our character and faith. Let’s seek His word for His practical wisdom and make the next month of this LEAP year one that moves us forward in victory!
Keep Seeking first
the One that sought YOU first
and wants you to find
everything you need in Him!