Here I talk about how to thrive in your relationships. This is my transparent story of how the Holy Spirit is working on me—because of how it affects my relationships.
I was sitting in my chair that Sunday morning not too long ago raptly listening to the words pouring out of my sister-in-law’s mouth. She was feeding my spirit man some good food. I was feeling pretty great. Then she shared the definition of being patient.
I wanted to jump out of my chair, but my insides were protesting:
No way! It does not say that!
I snatched my iPhone up before I could change my mind and looked it up in the dictionary right then and there.
Patient= bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
She’s right. Wow….it’s even worse than I first thought! Ouch!
I didn’t hear the next few minutes. Instead, I remembered times I had gotten impatient recently. As more and more times came to mind, my heart sank. I knew I’d have to revisit this subject soon.
But I Am Patient…Right?
I was dealing with the kids the next morning and the day wasn’t going as smoothly as I wanted it to go. I had a really important appointment to get to, and I was trying to get all the necessary tasks finished without becoming unglued in my stressful haste. One of my boys was being difficult. I snapped at him, followed immediately by declaring aloud that I wasn’t going to get impatient. I was catching myself right then and there, as the definition of patience came rushing back to mind. My son responded by saying, very patiently I might add, “Don’t worry, Mommy, we’re used to it.”
Woah. Out of the mouth of babes….
Suddenly I knew my family had become accustomed to my unfavorable habit that was now becoming quite the revelation for me. I wondered how it came to be that way. I pondered for awhile and remembered I had stopped praying for God to make me patient years ago. After all, it was a dangerous prayer. I had heard Christians say something like, “Don’t pray for God to make you patient because He will allow all kinds of opportunities for you to learn patience!” Back then I think I subconsciously decided I didn’t want to go through that, and decided I was fine. (Ha!)
Why and How to Be Patient
You know how you decide to deal with an issue when you’re under the influence of the anointing, and then later you try to justify it? Everyone understands, right? Like I could post on Facebook that my kids were driving me crazy and so I was headed to my chocolate stash, and people would laugh at my humanness. Fine. But they aren’t here. God is here. And He’s the one that is pointing out the lack of this essential fruit of the Spirit, and the example I’m showing my kids.
As I reflect on how I sound to my kids, or anyone around me for that matter, an impatient tone just cuts. Its sharpness takes the peace from the atmosphere and leaves those that heard it feeling yucky inside. It negatively affects the relationships in my life.
Ultimately, this is not the habit I want to continue. I am surrendering my character development to the Lord. Part of that yielding comes with soaking on verses like these:
Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 NKJV
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth,but what is good for necessary edification,that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29 NKJV
The other part of the surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit is to head His prompting while in the moment. Right in the middle of irritation or impatience rising up, I can respond to His conviction by beginning a complete reversal on the spot. It’s repentance in action: a quick prayer of, “you’re right, Lord, I’m sorry,” apologizing to those around me, and declaring that I’m allowing the Lord to bring change in this area. It takes crushing pride to do that, and people look at me funny, but I do it anyway.
Yes, my friends, the Holy Spirit can use circumstances, kids, and even the dictionary to get your attention.
Philippians 2:12 says to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, and boy, oh boy, I am working on this one!