patience is hard

To say that patience is not my strongest quality is an understatement. I might honestly be the least patient person on the planet. Sometimes I feel like my impatience can be helpful--once I make a decision I see no reason to drag it out, I'll make it happen as fast as possible. Other times, and more often than not, it gets me into trouble. I hate to wait--for people, for circumstances, and even for God. I like everything to be taken care of in a neat and timely manner. Always. This weekend I learned just how dangerous that can be. 

Through a hard and drawn out set of circumstances I saw just how harmful snap decisions and judgements can be. I saw the value in not just waiting but waiting well. In the sermon on Sunday my pastor talked about how God teaches us to be patient in our current circumstances so that we will be able to be patient in future circumstances. I could not have been more convicted. I have been desperately seeking a change in my circumstances. I've felt entitled to that change, and have blamed everyone else for my bad attitude in the meantime. Then I was presented with the reasons my circumstances weren't changing and what my attitude was communicating to those around me. I was devastated. Devastated that I'd let my pride and impatience control me and that I'd damaged my witness and reputation in the process. 

At first I was tempted to refute what was being said about me. I wanted to explain it away, to put the responsibility on how others had acted or how unfair the situation was. Some of those feelings are legitimate, but none of them justifies my behavior. As I've had time to process it all and think about it through the lense of patience, I've come to see that what's most important is how I reacted. I wasn't being given what I wanted when I wanted it and I decided to throw a fit about it. I decided that others had mistreated me and so I wouldn't bother to conduct myself the way I knew I should. That was wrong. 

God has placed me in exactly the right set of circumstances. That doesn't mean that they're the easiest, but it does mean that I am called to walk through them with the patience, grace, love and strength of Christ. Always. No matter what. When I fail to do that, nobody can be held accountable but me. I don't deserve anything and I certainly don't deserve to run life on my timeline. When I'm being denied something it is always an opportunity for growth and therefore, ultimately, a blessing. God has called me not only to have patience in this stage of life but to be thankful for it. 

It's a hard lesson and one I'm sure I'll continue to learn, but for now I'm thankful for a little bit of clarity and praying for the strength to honor it with my actions. 

*Photos totally unrelated except to remind me that beauty and importance exist outside of my little bubble. 

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