By nature, I am impatient. My mom once joked that I was born a week before my due date and I’ve been impatient ever since. It sounds funny, but she spoke the truth. I want answers and I want them now. If the internet is 5 seconds or more going to my site, I become irritated. I scowl at myself when I make mistakes. I’m not a worrier because I know the future is fully known and controlled by my trustworthy God. But I do wish I could see beyond today and know the reasons behind my current struggles. Such as, why can’t I be a more patient person?
My husband never gets ruffled. He is one of the most patient people I have ever met (the other one being my dad). Take, for instance, an upsetting incident which happened this past summer. I had heard one side of an issue, followed by another. Then a third party weighed in. When the truth was known, my protective instincts kicked in and I was ready for battle, impatient to take things into my own hands and settle them. My husband, however, reminded me that we need to think things through, pray about everything, and act in a manner that would be scripturally sound and benefit all involved. So, I had to be patient. I had to wait.
I hate waiting.
Isaiah 40:31 tells us that if we wait upon the Lord, He will renew our strength. I might add here that when we wait, we shouldn’t be all fidgety, behaving like kids on a road trip who keep demanding, “Are we there yet?” We should wait patiently. This makes me realize that when I wait impatiently, I’m not at peace with myself or those around me. And if I’m not at peace, I have no joy. If I’m impatient, I am exhibiting a lack of self-control. Lack of self-control results in a deficit of love, kindness, goodness, and gentleness. And if I am lacking in those, how can I consider myself faithful? In one fell swoop, I miss out on all of the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 tells me what those fruits are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They cannot exist as separate entities; they depend upon each other and provide balance to one another and to my life.
So what should I do when I find myself becoming impatient? Well, I could just give up. Throw in the towel. Stomp my feet all the way up the stairs and whine about the injustices of life. Or… I could recognize that each trial, every struggle, even the really deep potholes in life are there not to discourage me but to make me stronger. To build my character. To bring me an experience which will someday allow me to provide empathy to someone else as they struggle. I could choose to see the blue sky through the storm clouds, and rest easy knowing that it can’t rain forever. I can choose peace.
Do I choose to be patient? Yes. I don’t always wait the way I should, but past experience reminds me not to stick in my hands in an exasperated rush for answers. When I do that, I just wind up with a sticky mess. I’m not perfect; I won’t be until I’m in the presence of my Savior. But, I am learning to wait quietly for that still, small voice to provide peace and answers. All in good time.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV, 1984)