Becoming Patient

“Love is patient…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Are some people born patient or do we become patient? Does waiting ever get easier? As a kid you wait for holidays, birthdays and summer vacation. As adults you wait for change, reconciliation or whatever should come next in life. How do we wait well and not lose hope? I am starting to think it is where we place our hope that is the key. Hope in a person becomes quite a heavy burden for them to bear. Hope in an object feels empty quickly. Hope in a place here on earth is not sustainable and grows old. So if it isn’t these, then what? It is to be placed in God, in love Himself. And the most remarkable thing happens when we hope in what God gives, allows and withholds; we become patient.

Learning

Next week I get the opportunity of asking the questions in Bible study. In preparation today, I read the scriptures we will be examining. It is so timely for the days we are living in. Read a few with me, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6). Take any issue that divides us and run it through this verse, not missing what our attitude of mind is to be. Our example is Christ, who we just celebrated His sacrificial death on our behalf. Are we willing to die to ourselves, opinions and all, for others? This is not easy to do for me on my own. I have to have the endurance and encouragement from God.

With so many points of division and opinions, I see an opportunity where we can be a beautiful example of humility, dying to our desires for the sake of others. Perhaps then maybe we can get back to inviting others into the Kingdom, leading the way with one voice and mind in glorifying God. Sounds a bit like heaven, doesn’t it?

Windows

“When the Chest of the Covenant of God entered the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, was watching from a window. When she saw King David dancing ecstatically she was filled with contempt.” 1 Chronicles 15:29msg

Our teacher challenged us yesterday in Bible study to not look out the window at other people, but look in the mirror. The concept is easy to grasp, but much harder to live out. Finding fault in others comes almost without thinking, but looking at the faults in ourselves becomes painful. Maybe that is why we avoid it. When I read this verse this morning, I found another woman that seemed to struggle with this very thing. She exchanged an opportunity of worship and celebrating for window watching.

When I choose to judge, it gives me a false sense of elevation; lifting me up above whomever I have put on trial. How much are we missing because of this lofty position? Who might we help, befriend, offer hope, invite into the Kingdom, worship and celebrate beside? Window watching is a place of isolation and division. Perhaps we will all get tired of the view and join in worship, for it is what we were made for.

No Fear

What if we raised fearless kids? Can you even imagine the possibilities of who they could become and the things they might do? It is possible you know. I heard this statement, but wanted to verify the research myself. Did you know that there are only two fears, the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling, that we are born with? The other fears we collect along the way. With that being brought to light, how do we raise children without teaching them to be afraid? Even more challenging, how do we not transfer our fears onto them?

We can go to the scriptures and look up verse after verse on fear. We can read about people who should have caved in fear, but did not. What is their secret? How can we go another way, unlearn fear and find our way out? Perhaps it is where our eyes are focused. These days a headline can send us into fear mode, but where did this come from? Maybe somewhere along the way we lost sight of who is in control.

King David was very familiar with situations that could cause great fear and he penned words to help us refocus. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2). He is our help and we can lift our eyes, hearts and minds above the fear. If not, we will become dizzy spinning in reaction to all the fear opportunities that bombarded us everyday. If we spin, we do not move forward. I know this all too well. Sounds like a strategy right out of the enemies playbook, don’t you think?

Monday

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NLT

Today is the day after the resurrection and this verse keeps coming to mind. The concept of our old self dying with Christ, is hard to grasp, much less live out. Maybe one question we could ask ourselves in regards to this old and new life is who does the world see, me or Christ? If I am honest, you have seen much of me because I did not always choose to live “trusting in the Son of God”. How misguided one can become in thinking God would give his Son to die for our sin, but no more. Like he would just leave us humans to figure out this mess by ourselves. That is not the loving Father I know.

As we celebrated yesterday, I thought about Jesus leaving the borrowed tomb and his grave clothes too. What if we asked the Lord what old self still remains that needs to be left behind? After all, we are loved, our sins are forgiven and we have been given a new life. We are free to live loved and whole. What keeps us from trusting His love and death? For me, I would say I was asking the wrongs things to give me life. What would you say keeps you from living?

Friday

Today we celebrate Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. Knowing the Resurrection did indeed happen on Sunday, does not change the significance of this day, but I have missed it so many times. This year feels different. The weight of the day is real. My mind keeps dwelling on the helplessness of those that watched who love him. Maybe you know that feeling too, of watching someone you love suffer. Will there ever be a good day again? On this side of suffering, I can say with all honesty, yes, there will be many.

I am learning suffering does not need to be qualified or compared; it is not a contest any of us wants to win. It is part of being a human and something we all have in common. Perhaps the difference is what we do with what we now know because of the suffering, a decision each must make.

Maybe today if you know someone in the middle of their Friday, you can give the gift of listening and offer the reassurance that Sunday will come. Each experience is different and a good friend knows this too. When the room feels dark, a gentle word or even silence, cast a soft light, almost like a candle. May the Lord use our glow from suffering to bring him glory this Easter weekend.

Saturday

Over two thousand years ago, on a Saturday much like today, Jesus had died and lay in a borrowed tomb. I am so thankful that it was borrowed and not permanent. Trying to place myself there, I imagine wanting to be quiet. What words do you exchange after what your eyes have just witnessed? How do you explain the grief that crushes your heart? Yes, I would be silent. And if I had listened and believed Jesus was who he said he was and is, I would have found a place to sit by the tomb. Silence and waiting would have filled my Saturday.

Where do you find yourself today? Maybe the reminder of death hits very close to home, for you know the day after death too. So today we can wait together. It seems appropriate to tell the Lord how I am feeling about this waiting after death. He already knows, but somehow telling him opens my heart. I do not expect answers, for that does not bring back life. What I will receive is peace in the waiting and know this is not the end of the story. Sunday is coming….

Comfortable

My friends and I gathered at our favorite coffee shop this morning to unpack the week and life in general. Each of us bring Christ in us everywhere we go, but we have all been shaped or influenced differently. I thought today as I drove away, how freeing it is to let people just be themselves. No agenda, but to listen and speak when it seems right. We laugh or cry sometimes, but we speak honestly and relax in safety.

Another thought crossed my mind, as tensions swirl in our country, how grateful I am for friends that just let you be you. I also know the importance of letting others be themselves too, but that has not always been the case. Maybe I am finally getting comfortable in my own skin and who God uniquely made me to be. Peace settles in and so many insecurities fall away. We cannot give what we do not have now can we? We could all use some peace these days and a place to be ourselves. May we all be people of peace in the days ahead in whatever way the Lord leads. May we also be courageous enough to listen well and be ourselves. Seems to me the world could use some original thinkers, who authentically show up just the way He has made you to be.

Don’t Settle

“Don’t settle for having an opinion when you can be an example.” Maria Goff , Love Lives Here

I am reading this book again and came across this powerful sentence last night. Is that not incredible? What a great motto for us, especially today. Opinions can be used to divide us, but being an example can bring us together. Which do you think we need more of? Another question would be, what do you want to be remembered for, your opinions or your example?

When I think about my mom, it is not her opinions that come to mind. She tended to be more quiet. What has stayed with me is her example in so many things. She loved Jesus in her own unique way and seemed to always be working things out with Him. I am thankful they are face to face now. She gave incredible, thoughtful gifts and knew how to celebrate well. When it came to aging, she said we would grow old gracefully and did just that until she died. When you are beautiful you just are.

So today I am thinking about what matters and what will last. Maybe we can all be a bit more quiet with our opinions and more thoughtful in our examples. Besides, opinions change like Texas weather and can be just as stifling. An example can bless generations to come, long after we are gone. Perhaps we must all decide if we will settle or be.

Information

One of our girls and I were talking about her playing soccer. I was reminded of her short lived soccer career when she was little. She sure looked cute and had the most colorful uniform. When we signed up and then got assigned to a team, the coach got my email address wrong. Somehow we found out about the practice and game, but we missed important details. The coach was a bit frustrated with me, but I did not know what we were suppose to know. How can you know if you have not been told or shown? I only did what I knew and fell terribly short of what was expected.

Doesn’t this make you think of people who have never heard about God or known someone who is a believer? They are only doing what they know, living from what they know or have been shown. Why do we get so frustrated when people, who are lost, actually speak and live lost? As believers, we can ask God to show us who to talk to, give us the words He wants us to say, begin a relationship and maybe even get to invite others into the Kingdom. It is not a team to be on, but an eternal relationship that will make all the difference. I hear the “uniforms” are pretty incredible too.