“Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”
–1 Timothy 1:16 –
I think we look at patience from the wrong direction. We start thinking about it by way of a situation that’s unfavorable or a person who’s difficult to manage.
For years, I feared I didn’t have enough patience. It became an area of my life that caused me to flog myself in prayer. I repented over it, often in tears, because I felt like everyone had more patience than me. Then, thankfully, God opened my eyes one day in prayer and I realized two things that I think could be helpful to/for anyone who is silently struggling with patience:
- Most people mask their struggle.
- When you look at yourself in comparison to someone else, you never see the bigger picture. We all see what someone allows us to see in them. No one is perfect. A lot of times, that one woman in your church who you think parents her kids perfectly is struggling to keep them managed at home. Perception is NOT reality. I’ll say it again, perception is NOT reality.
- Just because people pretend to have all the patience in the world doesn’t mean they really do. Everyone has pressure points so allow yourself to feel those pressure points and maintain a level of control when stress arises in those areas of your life. It’s called grace sisters and I truly believe as women we don’t give ourselves enough of it.
- There is no better way to articulate truth than to live it.
- If anything I learned this year it’s this: there’s no way to control the outcomes of any aspect of your life. Your job will feel unstable at times. Your health (and weight) will fluctuate. Your children will misbehave. Your marriage will have disagreements. There will be people in your church who are unlovable. Your siblings will sometimes seem like aliens (please laugh, I can’t be alone in this). These things will happen, but the story doesn’t end there.
The late Steve Jobs created a mantra for the company that so many of us hold in our hands every day. He said, “think differently”. The world fell in love with this man who redefined mobile and music technology platforms. Long before there were iPhones, there was Jesus. When we commit ourselves wholly to the Lord — in action and in obedience — we are not only able to think differently, we are able to see things differently and do things differently.
If you want more patience, stop making your daily situations mountains in your mind. I know, it seems impossible, but I promise you, dwelling on your circumstances will not give you any more strength or patience than you already have. The child looking into your eyes wanting every ounce of your sanity is NOT going to suddenly give you all the resources you need to have more patience. Neither is the boss who nags you and demands you do more with less. Sister, we have to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Do you know why I changed my attitude from self loathing to acting with greater patience? I finally realized that Jesus had patience with me first. He had the ultimate level of patience with me, Erika Kimberly. He’s loved me through my spiritual tantrums, He’s loved me past my rebellion and over my sin. Jesus didn’t do it easily, He worked hard that night when He was flogged and beaten. He pressed in when He inched closer to the cross and He wept through it when He cried out in pain.
When I think of that, I naturally want to have more patience with people and situations. It doesn’t mean I let people walk all over me, it means I am bearing the grievance or annoyance inflicted by others — essentially, it’s easier to act like Jesus when I’m under pressure. I may get upset, I may cry and I may have to force myself to smile, and that’s okay; I’m not a bad person. I’m just working to give what has been given to me.
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.
In 1 Timothy chapter 1 versus 15 to 17, Paul articulates a truth we can all pen if we are really, really honest. We sin. We sin, sisters, and we make mistakes that require the blood of Jesus to wash them away. I don’t know about you, but this truth makes me realize that it’s worth taking an extra minute to pause and bear with someone else’s difficulties. By demonstrating Jesus’s ability to bear my burdens, I give grace — the same type of grace I’ve been given –more naturally.
Plant the seed of patience into your own life first, then reach for another person. You are loved by the Savior so love yourself with an undying love. The mistakes you make, the frustration you feel are natural parts of life. Don’t beat yourself up. May patience and grace abound in you.