Patience

Patience Through Silence

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

Do you get a charge of adrenaline through arguing?

When someone criticizes you, are you defending yourself for days on end, even if only in your own mind?  Do you spend inordinate amounts of energy attempting to prove critics wrong, saying, “I’ll show THEM!”

These thoughts and responses tend to consume a lot of mental, physical and spiritual energy.

It requires abundant patience fruit to step back from an argument or defending ourselves.  And sometimes we are left without a choice-certain issues and attacks can and should be met with a measured yet strong response.  However, as you are thinking about defending yourself or fighting back, make sure that you are not responding out of impatience-wanting to speed a matter to resolution or conclusion.

In other words, don’t be a hothead!

Showing your impatience or frustration weakens you in your relationship with the other person.  Impatience tends to build a wall between you and other people, whereas patience builds a bridge.

Think of the example of Christ before His accusers, which is foreshadowed for us in Isaiah 53:7

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.”

If you are cultivating the fruit of patience, evaluate whether saying nothing is better than responding out of anger or frustration.  If you can have this demeanor when someone else is upset, you have the power to diffuse an otherwise explosive encounter.  Pray for wisdom to choose the response that demonstrates the most patience for the weakness, turmoil or confusion of another.

A great lady I know has a “go to” response when someone is saying something disagreeable, difficult or critical.  She smiles and says softly, “I understand.”  There is an element of humor in this response because you are not telling the other person exactly what you understand (i.e….they are horribly misguided).  But this response allows you to verbalize that you have heard and processed what they have said.

If you find impatience welling up when dealing with another person or difficult situation, take a moment to pause, pray and reflect and seek to return to patience.

“Return into thy rest, O my soul: for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”

Psalm 116:7

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

Peace Fruit

Patience With Promises

 

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

Maybe over the last few days, you have been concentrating on cultivating the fruit of “patience” in your spirit.   (I hope that you have!)

You’ve prayed, read scripture and been more conscious of your thoughts and responses.

But you are probably not at a point where you feel “perfect and entire” and want for “nothing.” 

Will you continue to cultivate patience even if you can’t detect a difference in your feelings or thoughts? 

You may be like me and experience impatience many times a day.  The cause of your impatience may be something as simple as an interruption during a workday or a traffic light that turns red too soon. 

You have made spiritual progress if you have recognized your impatience, said a quick prayer asking for God’s help and then consciously decided to NOT verbalize your impatience to those around you.

The adage that “misery loves company” is true.  If we complain about having to wait, we most certainly will find people who will validate our complaints and commiserate with us. This doesn’t mean that Christians should accept poor-quality customer service or abuse of their time, but it does mean that we think carefully about our actions when we feel impatience welling up.  This is especially important when the source of our impatience is a loved-one or someone we must work with often.

How many times have you needed a lesson repeated until you “got it?”  How did it impact your learning process if the teacher snapped at you or made you feel dumb? 

How patient has God been with you as He’s taught you?  So many times I have disappointed Him and knowingly done the opposite of what I knew He wanted.  Yet I was not struck down or banished from His presence or told to never come back.  He patiently repeats our lessons.

His teaching methods may intensify if we make the same mistakes over and over, but He never gives up on our ability to do better the next time or withholds the resources necessary for improvement.

Seek to demonstrate to others the patience which God has shown with you!

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patience

Present Patience

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

If we become fully present in the moment we are living in now, and refrain from preoccupation with future outcomes (which we can’t control) or obsession over the past (which we cannot change), we may find more abundant patience among our spiritual fruit.

That’s kind of a packed statement for a short daily devotional, right?

But, in my own life, if I consider the source of much of my impatience, it stems from frustration or regret over the past.  Fro example, I am impatient with someone who does not seem to learn from the past or is, in my estimation “stuck” there.  I may also feel impatient with someone who does not forgive me or release me from past mistakes.

Another ready source of impatience is waiting for some anticipated “moment.”  It may be a life event like a birth, wedding, holiday or vacation. It has a date on the calendar which cannot advance fast enough for us.  Sometimes there is no set date on the calendar for what we are anticipating.  This can be even more difficult because there is no end in sight, yet we are constantly stretching, looking for it.  We wait for the “light to come on” in someone else’s understanding of us.  We wait for direction for work or life partner.  The non-specific waiting time is a source of discomfort.

How does God want me to live?

He wants me to live in a state of trusting HIM and living my life in the light of that trust.  My trust in HIM fosters patience in all my life circumstances and with people who cross my path.

Stepping out of the “control illusion” is something that has the power to ground me with patience to wait with contentment and understand with love.

Waiting can be preparation time for the receipt of additional or greater blessings than we are anticipating in our minds.  We may be thinking too small.  God may have bigger and better.

Let waiting expand your thinking and comprehension of what God has for you in your life.

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

 

peace

The Release of Patience

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

I’ve said before that many of the fruits of the spirit completely contradict the values of the world.

So it is with patience.

We want “faster” everything.

“Faster food,” “faster money,” “faster education,” “faster internet,” “faster travel,” “faster fixes” to all of our perceived problems.

The patient, slow and deliberate person looks almost freakish by contrast.

Part of patience is the release of control and a letting go of outcomes.

If I have worked as hard as I possibly can, as diligently as I can, and yet an outcome or decision is left to another person, we can patiently wait for the decision.

If we’ve followed our doctor’s instructions for health, we can patiently wait to see if a cancer recurs.

If we have led our children faithfully and diligently, we can patiently wait as they choose a college, profession or mate.

It turns out in many cases that our patience is almost directly equivalent to our trust in God.  The more we trust them, the more patient we can be.

And remember-every believer already has within himself or herself the FRUIT of patience.  Stop telling yourself that you are impatient.  You are impatient only because you have not cultivated and appropriated the fruit of patience.

Also remember that God provides you an unlimited supply of each fruit if you only ask, cultivate and appropriate it.

One day I told my 5 year-old daughter that I was “out of patience.”

She said, “Mommy, you can’t be out of patients, you aren’t a doctor!”

Along with comic relief, this statement reminded me that I am never out of patience.  I just need to dig deep to find it.

So remember to ask, cultivate and appropriate patience!

All the Best in 2013!

Peace Fruit

Perfect Peace While Patiently Waiting

 

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

It’s hard to imagine a truly peaceful person and an impatient person existing in the same soul.  Peace and patience feel so inextricably knit.

But as we move to our second day of focus on patience and its work on us, as it takes root in us, we become conscious of how patience benefits us spiritually and personally. And while many of the fruits of the spirits cannot be easily thought of as disciplines, patience is a little easier to imagine in that way.  We can often “feel” ourselves becoming impatient.  We detect our “fuses” shortening.  We feel our heart race and our blood pressure sore.

If you’ve observed a child who is waiting for Santa or some other great anticipated event, they can find it almost impossible to wait and seem capable of almost perpetual motion during this time.

Trying to explain patience to a child is difficult.  It’s often helpful to simply move them to another activity to pass the time so that it seems to move faster.  The same concept can apply to ourselves.

If we find ourselves growing impatient with a long wait somewhere, for example, always have a book to read, a letter to write, an article to edit or something helpful to listen to downloaded on your phone or other device.  Turn waiting time into meditation time or prayer time.

Additionally, just as difficult encounters with others can sometimes damage our sense of peace if we don’t get some distance and space, similar encounters can try our patience as well and likewise benefit from distance and space. (Even just for a minute or two).

What things most try your patience today?

Is it a long-range goal you feel discouraged about meeting?

Is it a family member who is behaving destructively?

Is it a health issue that seems as if it will never resolve?

Is it debt?

Is it wanting to be married or to have a child?

If you can think of things right now that challenge your patience, take a moment now to offer them to God and ask Him to plant patience deep within your soul, so that you can enjoy peace while patiently waiting.

“…whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, shall be quiet from fear of evil.”  Proverbs 1:33.

 

Peace Fruit

From Peace to Patience

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

James 1:4

As we move out of our focus on the peace fruit of the spirit and onto the patience fruit, perhaps you can see that if we have the spirit’s peace, we should naturally be inclined towards more patience.

But do you struggle with impatience?

Do you want patience NOW?

It’s not a delivery pizza or a tweet away.

Patience is practiced and requires an ability to see God’s best at the end of a long and bumpy road.

Patience requires sleepless nights with a sick and restless child.

Patience requires forgiving someone one more time.

Patience requires teaching a lesson that you taught the day before, the week before or a year before until the student grasps it.

Patience involves not giving up on ourselves or God when we fail or fall.

The short verse in James which will anchor our thoughts during this first week or so of focusing on patience is so rich.

As a woman, I love that patience is pictured as a female-her perfect work.

I visualize patience as a gentle mother overseeing her child’s first steps-embracing, guiding and supporting.

I also love that there is such a rich promise attached to patience…that if we give ourselves to learning the lessons of patience, we will be perfected and entire and want for nothing.

I am always attentive when the bible gives us something concrete to do in our lives with a promise attached to it that relates to our present life on earth.  Something that says “if you do this, HERE is what you’ll get.”  And it’s not as crass as expecting material benefit or creature comfort if we are patient, it’s expecting that by being patient we will see that in every moment we already have all we need through GOD and relax into our circumstances as they unfold.

So dig into the fruit of patience for the next 40 days, and if you are presented with a dilemma, crisis or question to answer during this time, ask yourself (and God) if the answer has something to do with patience!

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

Patience

Peace Through Holding It

How many soap-opera episodes or movies have featured as a plot point someone speaking up during a wedding when the officiant asks objectors to “speak now or forever hold their peace?”

Have you ever been to a wedding where that question was asked and answered?

If you have I really want to hear from you.

Anyway, what does it mean to hold our peace?  From preliminary research, it appears to mean the rough equivalent of holding our tongues.

Throughout scripture, there are many exhortations to stay silent in order to demonstrate our wisdom!  This appears to run counter to our human nature, to marshal every supportive argument we can when people come against us or attack.   We want to show all the proof we can that we are right and the other person is wrong.

Ask yourself how many of these interactions you have had in your life that have turned the other person around?  I am finding it hard to think of many examples.

I was struck today in reading Psalm 109, in which David asks for help, vindication and brutal defeat of an enemy.  If you study the Psalm and commentary on it, you’ll see that it really should not be a model for the everyday believer dealing with adversity in life.  I frankly would be terrified to pray such prayers.

However, one thing I did notice and plan to apply is how in the first verses of the Psalm, David asks for God to NOT hold his peace.  He asks God to take the situation and administer His justice to it.  His list of requests is grim and exhaustive.

I mention this Psalm only for its contrast to what we humans are told to do throughout scripture, which is (generally) to be quiet, to hold our peace. We see Jesus Himself remaining silent in the face of His accusers.   But this does not render us powerless.  As we pray for strength to hold our own peace, we can simultaneously ask for God NOT to hold His.

Does this mean we will never speak on the topic being disputed?

No.

It simply means we invite God into the conflict to direct resolution.

We may be wrong or we might need to compromise.

Or maybe we need to hold fast.

But first we should hold our peace.

“Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise.”  Psalm 109:1

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

Patience

Peace Through Fighting Words

”Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

When was the last time someone “pushed your buttons?”

How did you respond?

Were you able to escape without saying things YOU regret?

Or did you let loose?

Or some variant in-between?

The things we care about the most, or perhaps the sources of our deepest pain leave us vulnerable to people who may intentionally or unintentionally set off triggers inside of us.  When pressed in this way, we might respond rashly and justify it later by saying the person was deliberately trying to set us off or provoke us, or perhaps spoke out of turn.  Maybe the person is passive aggressive-the type of person who cloaks jabs and digs and references in otherwise polite conversation.

Then, there may be things that we consider to be “fighting words.” The law defines these as “words which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

Think about various curse words that upset you to hear-or racial epithets-or insults directed at our family members or to God.

What are fighting words to your ears?

What do you do when you hear them?

To cultivate peace in our spirit, it’s important to pray for help in responding appropriately to these words.  In the case of obscenity or racial epithets, perhaps the best response might be walking away or explaining you choose not to to be around people who speak in that way.

For other, more personally directed “fighting words” keeping silent when we hear them or saying very little in response might be a huge effort, especially with the “send” key being so readily available on our computer keyboards.

Before email, we had to at least muster the courage to pick up the phone to chew someone out.  Now, it’s become easier as our fingers fly and we can even proofread our responses for maximum stinging impact.

(Yes I’ve done it-recently).

So for myself, I am working on the “no response” method.

To not respond is a response in itself.

This simply means that to respond through a conscious decision not to respond or engage, at least for a time. When this is impractical, attempt to just get five minutes to take a walk, breathe or pray.

Doing this tends to put you more in control of the exchange and, most importantly, gives you an opportunity to invite God into the dialogue.

What is down in the well of our hearts is often revealed when we hear “fighting words.”

Don’t be discouraged if you find you have anger in your heart.

It just means you need God’s peace and God’s timing to come to resolution with the other person.  You may also need to ask for forgiveness or grant some.

For me, I have also seen in recent days that I need to be praying for right responses to other people each day since it’s a quality I lack.  Each day I pray for peace, harmony, and prosperity in my home and family.  I now see that I need to add to the list the ability to just shut up!

It is all disquieting but is necessary for our growth.

Ask God to help you with your weeding.

All the Best in 2013!

Julie

P.S.  Still feel the need to disclaim to the reading public I have not satisfactorily cultivated this ability in my own life.  I am still willing to examine myself and write on the topic, hoping that others can relate to me and not feel alone in struggling.  

Patience

Peace Through Zero-To-Crazy in 60 Seconds

 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

One reason I “put off” starting work on any spiritual writing is that I was aware of the concept that when you say “yes” to something God is asking you to do, forces will come against you.

These forces include bringing you face-to-face with your complete lack of qualification to say anything spiritual because of your own weakness or immaturity.  So the temptation arises to simply cease the work.

As I began the series of blog posts about “peace,” forces were working to undermine that in my life.  Nothing all that unusual or out-of-the-ordinary, but some opportunities for testing were presented and I perceived lack in my own capacity to be a peacemaker.  And, truth be told, I perceived lack in my DESIRE to be a peacemaker in certain situations.

So it’s easy to simply put off more writing.

But then I looked at the counter on this blog.

I have over 20,000 hits on this blog.

I know it has helped some people.

And I know it has helped me to write it and explore the fruits.

So I am going to continue and re-commit.

There is power in consistency in working towards a goal.

There is power in refusing to buy into the messages that seek to throw you off-course.

So fixing back onto the goal to provide fruit cultivation for myself and all who read.

Today my mind is fixed back on God’s peace.

“Oh God, my heart is fixed…” (Psalm 108:1)

All the Best in 2013,

Julie

Peace Fruit

Peace Through Dry Morsels

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3

Continuing our journey through peace cultivation, we have reflected on how important it is to ask God for the holy spirit’s guidance through our lives.  If we are looking at HIS roadmap, we are less likely to be diverted by external circumstances.

One thing that divert our attention is attaining “stuff.”  We desire bigger homes, nicer cars, stylish clothes and physical comfort.  Or, maybe your needs at this point are more urgent-you need a job, food, housing or health insurance.

No matter what we are striving towards, it’s important not to fall into the trap of “if-then” statements. An example of such a statement would be, “If I get this job, I will have peace.”  At that point you are equating something here in this world to provide you what only God can and this is when we can lose focus.  While it’s likely that, in our example, getting the job will yield temporary peace, because now you have an identified source of income, you will have the parallel stress of pleasing a new boss, adjusting to a new schedule and meeting new people.

Likewise, if you finally get to take the vacation you wanted, you may feel peace once you arrive at your location, but what if your problems at home just follow you on your trip?  This can lead to feeling let down and shortchanged.

Trying to live your life with deliberate simplicity can heighten our spiritual peace.  If you can afford “more” try to see if you can remain content with what you’ve already got until you are sure that you aren’t looking to the “thing” to feel more peace in your soul.

Though I have not gathered much evidence to back it up, I think it’s a true statement that people who live simply have more peace.

“Better is a dry morsel and quietness therewith than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

Proverbs 17:1