Often times as Christians we hear about patience. We are saturated about the subject in sermons, articles, radio shows, etc. It is a favorite topic among pastors and theologians alike. Yet, we continue to struggle with the idea of patience. We still lack it in our everyday lives, our businesses, our non-profit organizations, and on an even larger scale, our homes and society as a whole. Why is this shortcoming still happening? What can we do to address it in our everyday lives?
There are many theories on why this is happening. Some include the constant cycle of news and media of all forms, some include the increased pace at which people live their lives, and others include the need for instant gratification that we have enforced in many of our systems in life. The truth is, all of these contribute to our problem with patience.
One way to change it is spending time with yourself and God in the word and in your thoughts. It really can be that simple. This is easier said than done. This may look like spending more time in your Bible, joining in on study groups and small groups, or just spending time reflecting on God. This is really up to you and your personal preference.
But there is another way that I think we forget is an option. We often overlook the solution, and maybe part of the problem has to become the solution. The problem is US. WE have sped up our lives up dramatically, expecting what we want, when we want it, how we want it. We may justify this by saying" life is short" or " I am passionate about it, so it must happen the way I have foreseen it." You see, we have taken our lives and our destinies into our own hands, hoping to avoid the suffering, the wait, the loneliness, etc. The list goes on and on, but ultimately, we all have something that we are going through life trying to avoid by keeping busy. We must not continue this practice.
Former National Championship Basketball Coach Jim Valvono summed this up pretty well. To add context, Coach Valvano was suffering from a terminal cancer, he would die only a short time after the speech in which he made the remarks. He said...
" To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."
So, how exactly does this relate to patience? The ONLY way we can do these three things is with TIME, spending time to intentionally practice these tips. This sentiment helps us to realize that nothing worthwhile that ever comes from rushing. Your career, it can wait. Your friends, can wait. Your financial success, it can wait. Yes, this may sound radical, but when we truly live for Jesus, we should have no fear. Nothing should take precedent over him, and allowing Christ to come first requires patience. And chances are, all those things that you put on hold will begin to blossom as your relationship with Christ grows! Not only does God's plan require patience, but your happiness and well-being relies on it also!
Moral of the story, do not remain idle in life with no purpose, do things that you have to do, or are called to do. But ALWAYS remember to keep a healthy balance, and to always take time out of your day to connect with the LORD. He is worth it, and YOU are too!