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!’
1 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!