Lately I can sense the Lord is doing something new in my heart.
I have so many deep desires that I’ve had for years, and so many of them feel like they’re so close, and yet, so far. I’ve found myself getting frustrated, so frustrated, because the things I want are not coming to pass.
I’m in a relationship, but I’m not married.
I’m a writer, but so far from financial freedom and total dependency on writing as a career.
I live in a home, but I can’t buy my own.
I’m responsible enough to take care of a dog, and yet I can’t have one just yet.
Some of these things are big, some of them very insignificantly small, other things so trivial I can’t even bring myself to write them out for you to read. But they are all desires of my heart, deep ones at that, that I don’t yet have the fulfillment of. And in my frustration, I find myself worried, fearful, and anxious. I have this innate desire to control my life, as I think we all do, and I foolishly believe at times that I can control certain aspects of my life. And whenever I find myself in moments of deep frustration, I’m reminded that God wants me to trust him with every part of my life, however big or however small it may seem.
The Lord has been reminding and showing me that patience isn’t about simply enduring a prolonged period of time. Patience is about how we conduct ourselves while we wait for something; the manner in which we go about our everyday inner lives, even while our heart is in deep want. It’s about being steadfast in the face of adversity.
In a recent Relevant article, I read that “patience is about self-control.” The author summarized his understanding of patience as there being someone on the other side of your patience who will benefit from what you’ve learned while God builds and trains your patience muscle.
James 1:4 says “Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
In this passage, I don’t believe James means to say that if you wait long enough, you’ll have everything you’ve ever wanted and be simultaneously perfect. I believe he’s saying, “what can you lack, if you’ve learned to be content in your lacking?”
If in patience you’ve garnered through the Holy Spirit the ability to find joy in all things, you’ll be content no matter what you have or don’t have, no matter what it is you’re waiting for. You’ll live life not in a way that desperately squirms and aches for what is yet to come, but in a way that is truly blessed and humbly filled and wholly grateful for the right here, and the right now.
How do we do this? We “let steadfastness have its full effect!” Recognize that all of life is a period of waiting. We’re always waiting for the next thing, the next season, the next journey, the next opportunity. Let’s purpose to learn that this “patience” thing is a “rest of our lives” thing, not just a “something to help me cope until I have what I want” thing.
I love what the writer of the Relevant article said. He said, “God wants children who are patient,” and scripture certainly shows us how this is true. To learn patience is a beautiful thing, and something God desires for us all.
Have you found yourself so frustrated, and saying things like “God, I’ve waited long enough!” I’ve done the same, my friend.
Learning patience is about an attitude of our heart to say “not mine, but your will be done.” It is recognizing that God has so many beautiful things for us now, exactly in the stage of life we’re in, and he doesn’t want us to jump to whatever’s next without learning the invaluable lessons he has for us now. To skip ahead would mean doing yourself and those around you a gross disservice of what you could learn if you simply stayed put and steadfast.
Craig Groeschel said it best: “If its not God’s timing, you can’t force it. If it is God’s timing, you can’t stop it!”
Whatever you’re waiting for, I pray you’re comforted today. God is so good, and so faithful. He doesn’t leave us “aimless or answerless,” as Beth Moore said. He knows what he’s doing in your life, and if you’ll trust him, he will show you in due time why he had you wait. He’s doing more in you now that you can’t see, so that he can do more through you later that others will benefit from.
Trust the process, yes, but even more, trust the God of the process. He’s got your back. He won’t let you down. More likely than not, those dreams and desires are there because he put them there. Learn to be content even with what you feel is lacking in your life.
As for me? I’m dating my best friend, I live under a beautiful roof, I have nothing holding me back from accomplishing whatever I want to do.
The truth is, you are more abundantly blessed right now, than you even dare believe.
I know I am.