As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, and patience." Colossians 3:12
When raising my daughter, I found myself saying to her quite often, patience is a virtue. She would reply consistently, "that I don't have." It became almost a private joke between us. I now realize how much I need to work for and pray for this in my own life and person.
In my last three devotions, I have discussed living and loving with kindness and compassion (virtues which are easier for me to grasp and practice in my life) and humility, which is more nebulous for me and difficult to grasp and live. I am striving to do better with these virtues in my life on a daily basis. My prayer life helps with this.
Now, I will attempt to tackle patience, which is even more difficult for me, especially in light of my get 'er done, let's move on, take charge personality. Patience, according to dictionary.com, is an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. So, it is refraining from a somewhat "human" reaction to delay. Maybe the idea of refrain and suppression are the keys to reminding me to be patient, as I do like to show self control.
Patience is also defined as a quiet, steady perseverance, even tempered care, diligence. So, patience may even be a form of inaction, which again goes against my very nature. In my nearly forty years of teaching, it was almost second nature for me to be patient with my amazing "special" students. In my more personal relationships, however, it is more difficult to be patient. Other emotions get in the way.
Synonyms for patience include submissiveness, sufferance, endurance, and fortitude, even stoicism. Wow! In the last devotion, I discussed how my father modeled humility for the 90 years he lived. My mother is 96 and is a picture of patience. In fact, sometimes it is almost annoying, especially when she acts stoic and I am in emotion mode.
In Galatians v. 16 and 17, Paul admonishes us to "....live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with one another." Impatience, therefore, is sinful. Again, that may help me as I reflect on refraining from sin. In verse 22, Paul says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These virtues go together, hand in hand.
In Thessalonians: 14-15, Paul again tells us to be patient: "And, we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else". Romans 12:12 states, "....Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer". Especially In difficult times, I know that I can only do that with God at the helm, through Him, with Him, and in Him.
I will end with this Prayer for Patience by Heather King
God, I have been impatient.
I have lost my temper.
I have said things I shouldn't have said.
I have scarred people with my words.
I have grown deeply weary and given up on waiting.
I've struck out on my own to make things happen.
I have been impatient with myself, criticizing and condemning,
And holding myself hostage to perfection.
PLEASE FORGIVE ME.
You love me and you have lavished me with grace.
You are slow to anger and abounding with love.
PLEASE HELP ME.
Help me to receive your patience.
Help me to show patience to others, even the most difficult people.
Help me to have patience with myself, and with this Season of my life.
In Jesus' name, Amen.