Perseverance through Patience
I have been rolling patience around in my head for the past month or so. Its been a needed commodity in my life, and one that I wish would follow the basic rules of supply/demand. If your experience is anything like my own, your demand for patience is never meet with a steady increase in supply. It usually works the other way. If we are not careful, all of this works to our detriment.
You may be wondering, “But how can this not work to our detriment?” It seems not getting what we need rarely is met with positivity. Perhaps this is tied to our desire for fulfillment, which is often times met instantaneously. I am a person of little patience and sometimes I think this is tied to the almost instant fulfillment of what I need. The one thing that I absolutely despise is coming home from a long day and having to conjure up a meal in my kitchen. I would like to think this thought was absent to those hundreds of years ago. Preparation was just part of life, whether that was traveling to town, farming, or preparing meals.
It seems that there is a deeper truth here though: the need for perseverance. I have learned that in order to persevere, whether we are just going through a difficult emotional time or trying to establish a new discipline, patience is needed.
This thought was flooding my mind this morning particularly. I recently began jogging several times a week. If you know me, you know that I have cursed jogging countless times before and it was an activity that I found little to no merit in; oh, how we change. I have been jogging for about 2 weeks and at the end of my morning jog there is this hill. Its not a mountain by any means, but to come at the end of my jog, it sometimes feel like such. The first day I encountered this hill, my legs began hurting quickly, so I walked the remainder. The next day I didn’t fair much better. I then got midway, and resorted to walking.
“Slow and steady, Thomas.”
Finally, this morning I did not stop at all. I jogged the whole hill and upon reaching my house, well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt good. I owe this perseverance to nothing other than patience. I did not try a new tactic to conquer the hill. I did not change my speed. All I did was the same thing I had always been doing, day after day after day. Through patiently pursuing my goal, perseverance was the result. I think these little example from life point to such grander concepts than we give them credit for.
This past week in church, I was up to bat (meaning I was preaching of course!). I pulled from Galatians which is about patiently waiting on Jesus Christ to form habits, practices, desires, concepts, etc. in us by walking by the Holy Spirit. I am a believer in pulling from the everyday to better explain and give some flesh to our concepts, particular within my life of belief, faith, and dependence on my Lord, Jesus Christ. My morning jog this morning caused these ideas to start swirling around in my head and all I was left with was gratitude for my perseverance within my life. It could be watching and experiencing love form in you for someone you honestly couldn’t care any less about. It could be watching your thoughts, demeanor, and emotions mature through a struggle you are caught in. Whatever it is, patience is the key to perseverance.
I was struck with the beauty of waiting. Waiting gets a bad rap often because we are so active. Isn’t waiting, and I guess patience too, defined by staying put where you are until something happens. Yes of course. But to to chock this up to inactivity is mistaken. If I were to throw in the towel after day one, I would have fell into the trap of impatience, and never conquered that hill.
“My legs hurt. This sucks. I will never reach the top.” That would have been impatience taking effect. But I just patiently pursued my goal. Do my legs still hurt? Yep. Does it still suck at times? Yep. Did I reach the top though? Yep. Of course my legs would have stopped hurting if I stopped running, but then my goal would not have been reached. I want to be careful to not just place importance on the goal. The journey to the goal is where all the maturity is developed.
Are you actively participating in your times of waiting? I guess that’s what I want to ask you. I want so many things in my life. Some of those are mine now. Some of those are not yet mine. Some of those will never be mine. But in the interim are we paying attention to who we need to become in order to claim what we want? If you have pursued something and it didn’t work, it could be because you were personally not prepared to take on the responsibility and privilege of holding it.
Paying attention to the goal but never taking heed of the journey, and the patience we must practice to persevere, often oversteps this practical, very active part of waiting. Its where we become the person we need to be so we may lay claim to what we most desire.