ImageHave you ever lost something you needed really badly?  The kind of thing that without which your whole day will be thrown off?  Something so important that, unless you can find it, all your relationships will be impacted, your schedule will be impacted, your character will be impacted and how you navigate your day can and will be adversely impacted.

Keys, cell phone, wallet, purse, watch, calendar…  These all come to mind when thinking of the “don’t lose this or life will get hard” category.  People lose their cars in parking lots, I saw a lady pushing the horn button on her key as she walked up and down rows of cars in a parking garage recently because she could not remember what floor she was on.  But what I am talking about actually has a greater impact on us and the people around us when we lose it.  I am talking about patience.

Let’s all groan together now…  Not Patience, anything but patience.  Let’s face it, for many, for me, patience can be a challenge.  Here are a few thoughts running around in my head.

People do not work on being patient but rather on not being impatient.  What I mean is in general, people do not measure their patience by actual patience but rather the absence of being impatient in a situation or with a person.  We make comments like this;

“I sat through two lights but did not get mad, I was patient.”   Or, “The guy in the drive through got my order wrong two times and I never snapped at him, I showed real patience.”  One more, “Getting my kids out the door today took every ounce of patience I had, but I did it because I did not yell at them.” 

What we are really citing here most often is restraint not patience.  You see, patience can express itself in restraint, but it is so much more.  Patience, as a fruit of the Spirit, is much more about our operating system in all of life, not our restraint when life is not going to our specifications of speed, accuracy or convenience.

To be patient is to be generous with love to those who are still in process.  Patience is about love to others, not restraint of snarkyness.  Patience is about withholding judgment of others and adjusting my heart and life to match others processes.  It is not about smiling at the person behind the counter when my heart is filled with dissatisfaction towards them and then calling my smile and restraint patience.  Patience, in God’s model is about grace filling gaps that we all possess with love and kindness, instruction and encouragement and nearly always at our own cost.

Patience is proactive, not just reactive.  One benefit of rightly handled difficulties is the development of patience.  This development of patience is so important to God and the work he has for us, he actually says to rejoice whenever there is a chance for it to be produced in us.  Patience is how grace stays strong in the life of those who are not yet done growing.  Do you know anyone who is not yet done growing?  Do you know anyone who needs grace?  If the answer is yes we must remember that a part of God’s method for growth and grace is when his people operate in patience.  Heck, that is enough for today, Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on May 16, 2013.

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