The Reward of Patience

"Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting."  - Joyce Meyer

Even in childhood, I was fairly outspoken.  I have never been one to hesitate taking action or to say the words that I instinctively feel.  To put it simply, I have been known in the past to have a bit of a temper.

The trouble is, there have been times where I have taken action or said words that, while they felt authentic to me, in the end, I regretted them.  They didn't help me achieve my goal, they put me further back.  They inadvertently created more trouble for me than I anticipated.  Sometimes, they were accompanied by the remorse of knowing I took the wrong course.

I have never regretted being patient, though.  This has been a battle throughout my adult life; a battle I have chosen for myself and have exercised diligently and in which I have found great joy.  Oddly enough, while patience can be perceived by many as a passive activity, the exercising of patience is often very rigorous.  Outwardly, there may be no action, but inwardly, my spirit is in battle.

An often frustrating component of patience in trials is the observations of others.  When I am enduring a set of difficult circumstances and I am practicing patience and enduring the battle, the worst thing is when someone else says to me, "You should have...." and then proceeds to tell me all of the action I should have taken and the words I should have fired back.  Often times they describe the very instinctive feelings I had myself, things I wanted to do and say, but that I held back from instead.  It's like putting a giant cake in front of a dieter and telling them they should eat it!  It's just not very nice.

Sometimes when I pray for guidance the answer comes back, "Be patient."  That can be hard because when trouble strikes I want to do something.  In the moment.  But I have found when I seek patience, I find it.  And the more often I choose patience, the easier it becomes.  I would joke that I made a terrible waiter when I worked in a restaurant, but I have become an expert waiter in difficult circumstances.  It's like exercising a muscle.  The more you work it the stronger it gets.

I have found myself in a multifaceted set of difficult circumstances.  I feel like on multiple fronts, I am dealing with uncertainty and stress.  But I lean on the instruction of Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in afflication, faithful in prayer."  And I find that I am able to sleep peacefully every night, even in the midst of trials.  Patience then is truly its own reward.