Recently, God has been speaking to me in ways that are so obvious that I can’t ignore them. He’s been really pointing things out that I need to work on. Which is fine, except one of them is something I really struggle with.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
A little over a month ago, we had a Sunday school lesson regarding the fruit of the Spirit. We were challenged to think of the one that we struggled with the most, to focus on it and see what opportunities came up to examine our reactions. (Not that I needed help seeing what area I need to work on, as it has always been something I have struggled with.)
I have a problem with patience (forbearance).
I would also like to take this opportunity to say that the King James Version of the Bible refers to patience as “longsuffering,” and that sums up exactly how I feel about patience.
This will surprise a lot of people (outside of my closest family and friends), but I’m not a patient person. I am constantly on the move, and have never had time to wait around. One specific reason that my current career path is a decent fit is that it requires constant adjustment. It is somewhat of an “impatient” job when it comes to results. I do however, have to exhibit extreme patience when handling issues with my employees. By the time I’m done with my workday, I’m over being patient. I have no desire to display any more patience.
Recently, I was in the car with my mom. I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I’d like, so I cherish the time we get to spend together. We were making the most of being stuck in traffic and just chatting, enjoying each other’s company when my brother called her. (He still lives with my parents.) He stayed on the phone with her for probably 5-10 minutes. They hung up, and we continued our conversation. Then, my dad (who was a few cars behind us) called. This is where my patience really failed. I was visibly annoyed, and after my mom hung up she said “I think you need to be more patient with your dad.”
I felt really sheepish explaining to her that actually, this was something I was working on in general, and that God had pointed out to me that I needed to display more patience.
Less than a week later, I was leaving my parents house to head back to my apartment. I had been in the process of listening to a sermon series, so I decided that the two hour drive would be a good opportunity to listen to another sermon.
The sermon was, of course, about patience.
I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it. I listened to the sermon for part of my drive, and after it was over, I called my mom and she laughed too. While it was pretty humorous (Okay, God. I get it, I’m impatient), it is also really humbling.
It is humbling to know that the Creator of the universe knows me, understands me, and wants me to live by the Spirit. I’m in awe of His gentleness in helping me understand that I need to display more patience, and that He knows exactly how to get my attention.