By Julie Luse
A brutally honest look at patience, and my lack thereof.
I looked up some quotes on patience before writing this. Thought it would be a nice way to start. I was curious what ancient gurus and prolific writers have to say about it.
I noted millions of quotes on patience. Everyone, from Saadi to Harriet Tubman, seems to have an opinion on it. And they’re a bit cliché.
Things like “Patience, Persistence and Perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success,” or “The two most powerful warriors are Patience and Time.”
Those are nice and all, but the more quotes I read the more nauseated I began to feel. A feeling of agitation began to rise up, which seemed totally ironic and divine at the same time. Why does this bother me so much?
I’ve always had an issue with this virtue–patience–and people’s explanation of how to get it. They make it sound either so ridiculously easy or such ridiculously hard work.
Why is patience so hard for me?
My soul whispers – because it doesn’t work like that.
Let me tell you why this is so hard. Because it’s impossible. We cannot produce patience or make it happen. It’s not a work of human effort. It belongs to the Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the spirit is singular, not plural. The Holy Spirit produces only one kind of fruit, that is, Christlikeness. And every one of the virtues listed is foreign to the soul of the human heart. (Dr. C.I. Scofield, Believer’s Bible Commentary)
The more I try to be patient, the more agitated I become with my own inability.
Perhaps . . .
God doesn’t want us to seek Patience.
and . . . God doesn’t want us to BE Patient.
He wants us to ABIDE . . . everything else is byproduct.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain (abide) in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15.5 NLT
What does God mean by abiding? Abiding in Jesus is remaining in fellowship, staying connected to. Abiding is believing, trusting, savoring, resting, and receiving in all areas of our life. Our fruit is confirmation that we are abiding (John 15).
So if it is just that simple, merely abiding, then why am I still not a very patient person (fruitful)?
God didn’t want this to be hard and complicated, but Satan did. Thwarting off the things that mess with your abiding is the real problem.
Many of us have gone for years without realizing there are areas of our lives where we’re still not abiding. It’s taken me a long time to come to this conclusion for myself. I’ve spent so much time beating myself up because of my struggle with patience in life and with other people, not even knowing the problem wasn’t in trying harder. The problem was in figuring out what was standing in the way of my own abiding.
I have to warn you, this next part is the hardest work for a woman, but it’s the most important. You will have to start in a place of honesty instead of hiding.
In Leeana Tankersley’s book entitled Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt & Receiving Rest, she writes about the way women have trouble with surrender because of the fear of the unknown.
“We’d rather hold on to something that’s not working, because at least we’re still holding on to something. Letting go, entirely, means that we may be left empty-handed. And that, for most of us, is too uncertain of a reality.”
When we experience affliction and fail to bear the fruit of patience, we should not continue to beat up ourselves up or commit to try harder. Instead, we should examine it.
That feeling of agitation is an invitation to pay attention.
- What stands in the way of you believing and trusting that God still has a great plan?
- What stands in the way of you believing and trusting that you’re worthy and valuable?
- What stands in the way of you believing and trusting that He is enough?
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. – 2 Cor 12:9 NLT
Heavenly Father, let me be like she who waits in expectation, who laughs at the days to come. She knows where she came from and where she is going. Let me be like she who is free from the fear of unworthiness or fear of not having it all together. Help me to abide.