Today’s post comes to you from my friend Kristine!
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to learn to love the questions themselves.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
If there is one fruit of the Spirit that I’d like to officially be through learning about in my life, it’s patience.
Patience is that consistent voice of tough love that says:
“I know all of this desire, longing and aching is hard but stay diligent and uncompromised. I know you can’t see the end goal right now and you are trying to discern if the struggle is worth it. Keep praying and remain hopeful. I know you imagined life would be different, but the story is not over. Continue dreaming and forging on.”
It seems that in every possible area of my life the Lord is requiring patience. Patience in my singleness. Patience in my career goals. Patience in my ministry of racial reconciliation.
At times, this perpetual challenging of what I think I need or deserve or have earned moves me to a place of discouragement. My thoughts turn inward and I question whether I have been faithful enough or have sacrificed enough to receive what I believe will bring me joy and fulfillment. I often use past seasons of waiting to justify that I have “put in my time.” Clearly, this is skewed logic that is predicated on my human understanding of time and a misguided expectation that works will merit favor.
One idea that has liberated me lately from a negative association with the virtue of patience is that it doesn’t necessarily mean waiting. It means that I reorient my priorities around my current reality. That I give my heart to the relationships, actions and service that have been divinely placed in my life and commit to being faithful in the moment. It doesn’t mean I sacrifice my dreams but that I focus on the one’s that are plausible given my circumstances while loosening my grasp on those that are still out of reach.
Patience also means that I come to a place of accepting my reality while holding the very real tension that I am also still yearning for more. It is so important that we begin to normalize that in our spiritual lives. It is okay to have longing. After all, we are to long and thirst for the Lord so naturally our hearts were designed to function that way. We must be mindful; however, that the longing doesn’t take precedence over God’s present will for our lives. I believe that is when we are most tempted to take matters into our own hands or grow bitter under the illusion that God owes us something.
“Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatian 6: 8 – 9
I will be the first to acknowledge though that knowing all of this doesn’t always make it easier to be patient, but it does inspire motivation to keep trying to embody this fruit of the spirit. Inevitably, when I do not have that which I want I become more introspective about my journey. I am more aware of how my humanity functions on an eternal timeline and that brings me to a place of humility and gratitude. I may not know why a certain desire or accomplishment has not manifested, but in my exploration of a perceived lack I discover more about my heart and how it moves me forward in this life regardless.
I am also granted spiritual vision through the process of enduring. I recognize that the divine plan for my life is only fully known by the one who breathed me into being. He is the author. He determines my steps. His plan is infinitely better than mine. Patience is resting in the knowledge that the God of the universe has good plans for me and I will experience them in the appointed time and in the appointed way. What a wonderful reassurance that I can anticipate blessing both in the present and the future even as I hold questions in my heart.
Kristine is a deep feeler and lover who writes to pursue self-discovery and advocate for justice through poetry, blogging and research. She believes that listening to and valuing others’ stories transforms the way we experience God and commune with the body of Christ. Her professional home is in the field of higher education, but she also gives time and energy to collaborating with her church’s racial reconciliation center. An old soul, her ideal day is spent diving deep into heart matters with a friend or reading at one of her favorite local coffee shops. You can find more of her voice at https://heartscribblesblog.