Be Patient …… With Yourself!

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Lesley Grindrod, contributor for today’s blog

The well-known car bumper sticker “Be patient with me – God hasn’t finished with me yet!” crossed my mind as I sat down to write this morning. But no sooner had my fingers touched the keyboard than I felt the Holy Spirit unexpectedly nudge me with these words: “Be patient with yourself, I haven’t finished with you yet!”

Oh man! How I struggle to be patient with myself!  A constant, condescending, impatient ‘inner voice’ that shouts “That’s good, but it’s not really good enough. Why haven’t you done this yet? Why are you still doing that?” When is this going to happen?”

Be patient with yourself….” If you’re anything like me you’re a bit of a mess! We don’t want anyone else to know it and we do our best to put on a great face so no-one will ever know it …. but we know! We know every flaw, every mistake, every failure, every sin. And with every new mistake we beat ourselves up … ‘Why bother? I’m never going to make it!’

love is patient1 Corinthians 13 tells me that love is patient. God is love, and He is eternally patient with me. If I’m to imitate Him I must be patient with myself! I must believe God’s working in my life even when I don’t feel like He is.

Spiritual growth is often tedious work – one small step at a time. Ecclesiastes 1:3 says “Everything in earth has its own time and season.” There are seasons in our spiritual life too. Sometimes we’ll experience  short, intense bursts of growth (Spring) but also periods of stability, testing and even barrenness (Autumn & Winter).

So what about those habits and hurts you would like instantly removed from your life? Its fine to pray for a miracle, but don’t be disappointed if the answer comes from a gradual change. Be patient. Over time, a slow steady flow of water will erode the hardest rock and turn giant boulders into pebbles. Winter will eventually become Spring.

Try keeping a notebook or journal. Not a diary of events but a record of what you’re learning. Write down the insights and life-lessons God teaches you about yourself, life, relationships and everything else. Recording gives you opportunity to review, to look back and praise God for every lesson learned, every victory He’s achieved in you!

One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. I often feel frustrated, impatient with the seemingly slow progress I’m making in life. Remember God is never in a hurry, but He’s always ‘bang on time.’ He’s using our entire lifetime to prepare us for our role in eternity!

Dear friends, I don’t know what’s been happening in your life – what struggles you’re facing, what failures you’ve made. All I know is, if you love God, He is working on you. Be patient with Him. Be patient with yourself. Love is patient. Cut yourself some slack today. You’ll make it. God has promised you will!

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BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER BIBLE STUDY AND FRIENDSHIP

one+anotherHi girls!

Tonight is the night for our time together; to eat cake, to share in friendship, old and new; and to study together in Scripture what it is to Bear with One Another aka Be Patient with One Another in our ongoing One Anothering Series this school year.  Sharon Durant will be leading us, along with Anne Holmes. So, don’t miss it! Bring a friend and get ready for a rich evening!

WHERE: Corsham Baptist Church Hall

WHEN: Monday, 24 April

TIME: 7:30 PM 

EVERY DAY PATIENCE

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Hannah Spruijt, contributor of today’s post

Patient. It’s not a word that describes me best! And unfortunately, it is those who are nearest and dearest to me who know it all too well. Don’t get me wrong, I can keep my cool to a certain extent, but then I have a definite ‘snapping’ point and all too easily, I lose it.  Since having my little boy I’ve learned SO much about my inability to be patient; two year olds have a marvellous way of pushing all the right buttons to reveal our true colours! Sometimes in the evening when I reflect back over the day’s happenings, I feel shame and guilt that my sin has impacted my parenting. What does the Bible have to say about patience in bearing with one another? What do I need to learn?

Firstly, God’s character gives us the blueprint to follow. Psalm 103 (one of my favourites) says “The LORD is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love” (v8, NLT).  Mercy means to have patience and a forgiving disposition towards someone who is in your power; God is patient with us and He is always ready to forgive us when we turn to Him.  Secondly, we are commanded to be patient!  In amongst lots of advice for the young church in Thessalonica, Paul instructs the new believers to “be patient with one another” (1 Thess 5v14) in preparing for Christ’s return; he doesn’t give any exclusions like ‘if you feel like it’ or ‘in certain situations’ or ‘only if the other person is worth being patient for’! Simply, we must be patient with everyone.  Another Bible passage that comes to mind is where the fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5 (v22-23).  As Christians, we know if we are truly seeking to grow in our walk with God and are committed to learning and changing to become more like Jesus, the Holy Spirit will enable us to cultivate these Christ-like character traits in our hearts and lives. But how does this happen?

I want to share a little testimony to God’s goodness. In the last six months God has been working in my life in a way I have never known before. A very dear lady has been investing her time and energy in praying with me, encouraging me and holding me accountable for my personal prayer life, Bible study and other areas too. It has been amazing that our series on ‘One-Anothering’ has coincided with this time and I have been able to relate very personally to all the areas we’ve covered! My walk with God, my anxiety levels, how I make choices, my marriage and even how I parent have all been impacted.

I can see that as I seek to be more Christ-like and I daily commit myself to God, the Holy Spirit prompts me and I feel his ‘nudging’ in the moments when my patience is draining and anger is rising.  If I am truly in step with Him, it is far easier to feel the nudge and act upon it; I ask God for immediate help in a quick prayer, I think about what I say before I say it, and I remember God’s kindness and mercy to me before I deal with my son.

I am still definitely not getting it right all the time, and I can tell when I am not in step with the Spirit and I have to repent, but I am so glad to be a work in progress (Phil 1v6) and thankful to God for his goodness in how he ‘giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater’ as the old hymn says. If He extends His grace and His mercy to us, day by day and moment by moment, how much more should we be bearing with one another with patience, kindness and gentleness in response?

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