Stuff I learned in 2010 (pt. 2)

I’m spending this week looking back and remembering things that I’ve learned in 2010.

Here’s an important one:

Patience isn’t about being able to wait for the things you want to happen.

I’ve always struggled with being impatient.  In today’s culture it almost seems like a virtue instead of a character flaw.  Impatience is rewarded at every turn in life with faster, more convenient, everyone-can-download-it-now technology.

The Bible tells a different story. Patience is “sort of a big deal”…it’s listed among the “fruit” or evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a believer.

    22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  Galatians 5:22

Patience is written about with the same importance as Love, Joy, and Peace…and I think I’ve honestly missed the big point about patience for most of my life.

Patience isn’t about being able to wait for the things you want to happen.

Biblical patience isn’t about just “waiting”.  Patience isn’t just about restraining yourself until Christmas morning to unwrap your sweet new iPod.  The Bible speaks of the patience of the prophets who many times NEVER saw the things they prophesied come to be.  The clear “poster child” for patience in scripture is a guy named Job who lost EVERYTHING and still trusted God (even though he was angry and confused about his seemingly hopeless situation).  Biblical patience is less about waiting for Christmas…and more about being OK if Christmas never comes.

I think Dave Dorr said it best:

So what is patience? Patience is understanding the settled reality that we are not in control. We are at peace with the fact that life is run by someone else. When we are patient we are paddling downstream, letting the force of life guide us along, knowing we can steer, but not turn upstream. Impatience is turning the boat, rowing hard against the current; we still move downstream, but with incredible exhaustion.

That’s a big lesson I learned in 2010.  I can be patient…because being impatient is a huge waste of energy.   I can wait, not just for the things I want to happen, but even for the outcomes I do not understand. Patience isn’t just about being able to wait for the things I want to happen. Patience is  about trusting my God more…and my self  less. 

What did you learn in 2010?


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