What a joy to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my Mama. I love her so much, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Back in the day, mom and I could tangle like no others. Looking back, we realize that so much of what we disliked about each other was a mirror image of ourselves.
Yesterday, I helped her purchase and set-up a new iPad, make holiday wreaths and spend time with the grandkids. I was taken aback when she turned to me and said, “Denise, you are so patient. “ Patience has never been one of my virtues (at least through my eyes). All I could say was, “Thank you”.
Mom’s comment prompted me to look up the Biblical definition of patience, mostly because, as a pastor’s daughter, God considers patience a virtue. OMG, had I actually acquired a virtue in this crazy life filled with so many failures, disappointments and setbacks?
What is virtue?
I define it as a desirable moral quality that makes the best of any difficult or unsatisfactory situation; from that pothole in the road that never seems to get fixed, to the child crying on your flight to wherever. The Bible defines it as conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality or simply stated: moral excellence.
Where does patience fit into the mix?
- I believe our ability to be patience is often based upon the person (or persons) with whom we must be patient.
- That family member or work associate that annoys us just might be God’s gift to build our patience.
- We grow morally (in virtue) through the daily grind of life. We can either retard or increase our virtue based on our response to daily difficulties and life experiences.
What stunts our growth?
A bitter and resentful spirit can certainly hinder our moral growth; as does anger. An unwillingness to see another person’s perspective also exacerbates our level of impatience, as does the inability to have an empathetic understanding of other’s weaknesses.
The old saying you must walk a mile in someone’s shoes to understand what they are going through is true even today.
So, what’s the goal?
Hopefully, it is a desire to be mindful of how God is at work in the details of our daily life, even in the tiny annoyances we encounter (like the crying baby on the plane). I am convinced Jesus endured nuisance and annoyance from his disciples on numerous occasions, but His patience was remarkable. He knew what it was like to walk around in their shoes.
As Christians, every aspect of our life should be to profile Jesus. Our purpose is to bring us into closer conformity of His image; to see people, situations and life’s challenges through His eyes. At the end of the day, our goal is to look upward and rest in content that God is working all things for His good and purpose in our life.
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
Lord, some of Your people are hard to love. They can be moody, mean, difficult, and impossible to understand. They blame me for things I didn’t do and have expectations I can’t meet. Sometimes I wish You hadn’t put them in my life.
I need You to show me how much You love them. Reveal what You see under the surface, where they’re hurting, and tell me how to make a difference. Thank you for giving me your patience to be kind and compassionate when I don’t have my own and for loving me when I’m the one who’s difficult in someone else’s life.