The seventh of the nine words in this “Words” Blog Series is…

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Yep…it’s everyone’s favorite word (commence the eye roll).

Being patient is something we all know the importance of, but we’d rather just have things happen exactly when and how we want them to instead of having to be patient. Just being honest.

Even today, I had a test of patience. I was driving to pick up my daughter to take her to her dentist appointment, but traffic was moving slower than I had expected.

You all know exactly what I’m talking about. Because we have all experienced that before. We have somewhere to be, but other people are also on the road going places, and they are all getting in our way of getting where we want to be, when we want to be there. I mean seriously, why do other people have to be on the road going places when we are too…can’t they wait until we are where we want to be first. (commence more eye rolling)

As I was driving, and running late because of the traffic, I was reminded that today’s word was patience. How ironic! So I laughed to myself a little bit…but not too much. After all, I was still frustrated about being late.

It’s safe to say that 3 years ago, my life took a turn that I wasn’t expecting, nor did I want. But regardless, it happened. And it has not been easy to adjust to. Especially at first.

Over these past 3 years, as I’ve adjusted to living life in a different way, I have had to learn much patience. Learning to adjust took time, figuring out my new life and who I am took time, beginning to heal took time, getting to a place where I could begin to think about and be ready for my new future took time…it all took time. And that meant I had to be patient. I couldn’t rush it.

I know the truth that God is always at work. He is working in everything, the good and the bad, to continually teach me. God has a plan for my life, and even unexpected turns don’t change or deviate his plan for me.

But I also know the truth that God is not bound by time. 2 Peter 3:8-9 tells us this truth: with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you. So when he is working in my life, it’s not an overnight thing. 

I want it to be fast. I want to be at a better future tomorrow! I want to be healed now! I want to see justice (my idea of justice of course) happen yesterday! Being patient isn’t what I really want to do.

But…

I have to admit that everything I have had to walk through these past 3 years has taught me a lot of patience. I have learned how to think patiently, react with patience, calm my heart and allow patience prevail, and I have even had to learn how to trust God patiently.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to “not be anxious about your life” (verse 25),“which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (verse 27), and even “do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (portions of verses 31-33).

Getting anxious and frustrated and angry and impatient doesn’t change anything anyway…all it does is make things hard on myself. But when I am patient, I can think more clearly and react in a more calm and godly way.

I’ve often heard people joke that we should never pray for patience, because God will put us in situations that require us to be patient. Well I can’t remember if I prayed for it before all of this happened, but I pray for it often now. I need it. I understand the importance and value of it. And I want it in my life.

When I am patient, I can trust that what God plans to accomplish in my life will happen at just the right time. When I am patient, I can handle much better the difficult situations that come about in my life. And when I’m patient, I can more easily relax when I have financial struggles and simply work to figure them out, as opposed to freaking out and getting all worked up.

To be honest, there’s a second word that I believe goes right along with the word patience. Especially with regards to all I’ve learned about patience over the past 3 years. (So I guess this blog is kind of a “two-fer”)

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Peace is very difficult to obtain without patience. Patience leads to peace. One goes with the other.

The more I learn to have patience in my life, the more peace I have in my life. When I’m more patient with my kids, the easier it is to have peace in our home. When I’m patient toward those who hurt me or abandoned me, the less what they did has control over my life and the more peace I can have in my life. When I remember to be patient as I wait for God’s timing in my life, the more peace I have that God is at work and is working all things together for my good. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Learning to be patient has helped me to have peace in my life, even in the midst of turmoil and hardships.