Monday, April 22, 2013

A New View of Patience

I've been lucky: there have been numerous times in the last year that God has been incredibly clear with me. He recognized how much I needed clarity and was gracious enough to provide it. More recently, however, I've been clinging to the idea of clarity, begging for more. Instead of taking the clarity He has already given me and running with it, I've asked Him to show me again and again, to prove that He meant what He said, to reassure me.

I found Mother Teresa's words on clarity  incredibly challenging when I heard them yesterday. I've been clinging to clarity so that I'll be safe. I've been using my lack of clarity as an excuse to avoid risk. I've replaced relying on God with relying on clarity. I've used the lessons God has been teaching me about patience as an excuse to hold back, to wait until I have a clear vision of what moving forward should look like, to justify avoiding taking any steps forward. I've turned God's lessons on patience and reliance on Him into lessons on fear and hesitancy. 

God says, "Be patient, wait for Me to bring this to fruition" and I hear, "Hold back! Unless you know exactly what to do next, unless you know exactly what the future will look like, you should do nothing, don't even try." However, when God says, "Be patient, wait for me to bring this to fruition," he is really telling me, "You are rushing and you need to slow down. You are focused on what this can do for you rather than how I can be glorified. You are worrying too much, haven't I already handled this?" 

I don't think God ever meant for me to turn His guidance into an excuse for inaction. He never meant for my patience to mean my paralysis. Instead, I think God wants us to be all in with whatever we are being patient for. My new conceptualization of waiting for Him and trusting Him is not that I should hold back, waiting for everything to become clear. Instead, I think God wants us to acknowledge the things we are being patient for and then to run after these things with joyful anticipation, confident that He will bring them to pass in accordance with His will and timing.

Patience is knowing that we may not see results immediately and being full of hope and excitement and dedication anyway. Patience is pursuing our godly calling and the desires of our heart with reckless abandon and not being frustrated when God's pace is slower than we might like. 

Are you using patience as an excuse to hold back rather than step out in faith? 

Today's Verse
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

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