Tag Archive: Patience

Impatience (Part One)

Expectations.  They change our perceptions, interpretations, and inevitably our actions.  Some expectations cause us to be positive, others motivate us in different directions.  Expectations are often like the concept of potential.  They are things that could or could not be fulfilled. 

At times in my past, in my youth, I pressed forward with things very hard.  If I believed in something, wanted something, I would readily push as hard (and as fast) as I could.  Ah, the recklessness of being young.  I’m almost wistful about it.  It’s amazing, as friends and loved ones have said many times, that I’m still here after all the many mishaps, trips, falls…  But on the other side of those perceived failures, there have been miracles, successes, and wonderful happenstance.  I guess it’s a matched set.

As I have grown older, I have learned a little bit about why I pressed so hard.  When I was younger, I had very little faith that God would actually make good on His promises.  Granted, at the time, I believe that issue was only one of a few.  Youthful energy and a belief that the world was incredibly mercurial was obviously a big part of that attitude as well. 

I’m learning the concept of grace.  It’s something hard for me.  But, recently I have been put face to face with one deficit in regards to understanding grace.  When you have a faulty belief in God’s grace, you sometimes feel you must actually do the work that God has promised to do.  We start to believe that we must keep working hard for God’s favour, or worse that God cannot be trusted with the things that are most important to us.  So we must ensure that they are taken care of by our own efforts.

It seems silly to write it down, because when confronted with the black and white concepts, most Christians would immediately say that they trust God has our best interests at heart.  We will quote verses like Romans 8:28 (NIV):

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

It’s a comfortable thing to say, but does it actually affect our actions?  Impatience is often a sign that we truly do not trust that God is in control.  To expound even farther, it often also means that even if we can intellectualise God being in control, we doubt that He does want the very best for us.  It’s a very subtle, but powerful example of not trusting His will. 

We all have done things because we didn’t truly trust God’s will.  Some have forced career choices, others have forced relationships, even more have gone out and made things happen that we believed that were not going to happen any other way like trying to become pregnant… and many others.  We say we trust that God’s Will will be done, but then when we don’t get what we want or think we deserve, we force the issue.  We make it happen.  Kind of like the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 16. 

God gave Abraham a promise and for years and years it seemed that it would never happen, that his ancestors would be like the stars in the night sky.  But as he and his wife aged, they despaired that they would never have a child.  We’ve all felt the despair of something either hoped for or promised to us not coming in a timely fashion, haven’t we?  And like our couple here, they were fine for a while, until they just thought it would never happen.  So they forced the issue and Abraham had a son with their servant Hagar.  So many people do just that, make things happen faster or in ways that weren’t necessarily the way that God would want.  Sometimes the consequences of such actions created by getting what we want, outside of His will, aren’t felt for years and years and years.

I have been impatient often with what I have believed are God’s promises in my own life.  At a time when all the options in the world were on the table, I felt that God told me about some ways that I would serve Him.  I proceeded to make it happen in any way I could.  And like the proverbial dog on the chain in the backyard seeing a squirrel or cat, I ran as hard as I possibly could… at least until the end of my chain yanked me off my feet and left me on my back staring upwards… dazed, confused and in pain.

 I believed that His promises to me were to be fulfilled in my time and in my way.  How presumptuous it is to believe that!  I rationalised it in many ways, with many explanations, but it all came down to the concept that I did not truly trust that God would do what He says He will.  We all do it, in both large and small ways.  With issues that are dear to our hearts, we rarely go to God first.  We will do everything to take care of them, to protect them, and when they don’t seem to be going the way we want them… then we go to God.  What happens when things don’t seem to be working out the way we hope?  Do we go to God with our hopes and dreams and trust that it will work out according to His will?  Rarely.

Learning about grace in the last several months, I’ve been seeing many situations in my own life and in the lives of people around me where impatience meets that lack of trust in God.  It’s very difficult to learn how to trust our expectations to God’s hands.  I’m barely walking through this idea that timing isn’t my responsibility, it’s His.  I just need to be a different type of expectant person.  One that is expectant like a soon-to-be mother is, knowing that her baby will be born, and preparing and waiting for such a day, trusting that it will in fact come.  Isn’t it odd in today’s society, that even the idea of child-birth is one that is often pushed and forced to fit our schedules?  We can induce, or abort, or even make children that wouldn’t normally be able to be born… at our whims, timing, and wishes.  It leads me to believe that more and more society helps breed this concept into us… we want what we want and we’ll have it now please.  Sometimes, even without the please…

What things are you forcing in your lives?  What things have you pushed when you felt God said no to get what you wanted?  Have you ever felt the answer to a prayer or hope was “wait”?  Tough questions, with all too familiar answers I believe.    

Will vs (Re)Action

Patience is the moment before reaction takes control of the will.

Faith is the moment after the will takes control of our actions.

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