I’ve been going through a time of impatience this past school semester. It got me to thinking about what God says about being patient. As I typed into our friend Google, “What does the bible say about patience,” I found many different thoughts on the topic. I often go to dictionary.com when I want to expand my understanding. Let’s start with the definition of the word patience.
1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
The most common phrase I found was, “patiently waiting.” What does that actually mean? I think it refers to enduring through trials without completely falling apart. I have to smile when I write this because of the amount of times I have to talk to myself (and husband) about how much I want school to be over. There are also other areas I want to be distant memories. School however is the most present trial in my midst. So, I come back to God and have to focus on what His possibilities are for me.
Focus on the Present
God is super cool. I’m leading a Love God Greatly bible study in Ecclesiastes for eight weeks (comment below if you’d like to join us). Today we are in Ecclesiastes 6:7-12. All the verses given are meaningful (which is ironic because Solomon is saying throughout that everything is meaningless), but, this verse stuck out: “9 Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”
I picked up my Chronological Life Application Study Bible NLT to read the study notes (FYI: I love this book!). After reading the notes I received a word: FOCUS ON THE PRESENT. Find things in each day to enjoy, even if you’re going through trails. Enjoy what you have. For me, the meaning was to find a happy medium; make sure to sprinkle pleasant tasks into my daily to-dos and daily living; to look for things or situations to be grateful for; and to appreciate each day.
As I grumble about school, I have to stop and realize…I get to go to school. While it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be and could be much better, I have a choice. So what does this have to do with God being super cool? He gives us choices! He gives us beautiful things each day we can focus on. Sometimes we have to look hard for those beautiful things, but they are there.
You are allowed to enjoy what you have!
Wishing it away
I’ve been wishing away the months of this school semester because I find that much of it is meaningless, (to quote King Solomon). And while this is partly true, again, with focused thinking, I came up with things to be grateful for, and things that have meaning.
1. I have an awesome Spanish teacher who is encouraging and helpful.
2. I’m learning a “little” Spanish.
3. I’m making a difference in the lives of others.
God knows my path. He knows what is to come. I’m supposed to be enduring these trials that aren’t fun. So while I’m wishing my days away I realized that beautiful things happen around me. I’ve been helping another student for more than a year. She went on a trip and when she came back, she had a gift for me with my name on it. She actually thought of me on her vacation! I’m so honored!
Another student texted, saying that without me she would not have accomplished several things. That showed me one reason for my presence there is for them…it’s not “all” about me. It may just be for another person’s journey. Is it right for me to wish away someone else’s purpose? I don’t have to like it. I just have to endure it.
Don’t wish away your life. Patiently endure through trials:
James 1:12 (NLT)
12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
I could go on about there being a time to be patient and a time to fight, but that I’ll leave for another time.
Here’s to patience through trials…
PS. I also learned that we are allowed to enjoy what we have as long as we don’t covet it.