Fruit of the Spirit: PATIENCE.

Galatians 5:22-23 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Against such things that is no law."

Patience is living with an attitude of forgiveness throughout the day.

The reason I say that is that I've learned that in order for me to be patient, I have to make up my mind that I'm going to forgive people all day long for not meeting my expectations or doing things according to my perspective.  I'm also going to have to forgive myself for making mistakes throughout the days as well knowing I will be wrong and needing grace from those around me.  I'm going to have to forgive existance for constantly making my life difficult.  I'm going to have to let things go when I want to choke them out.  I'm going to have to give breathing room and make space for variables and anomolies.  Patience is moment to moment mercy followed by cleansing forgiveness.  Some people are really good at it.

They have chosen to forgive shortcomings before they even happen.  The anticipate that life won't work out according to their preconceived ideals and when it doesn't, they roll with it like "it ain't no thang".  When someone else would react, they respond.  When most people are knee-jerk jerks, they develop a different snap reflex.  When instinct says, "That ain't right", it's overridden with a new nurtured impulse, "It'll be ok."  Instead blurting something out and acting out in the moment, they hit pause.  They feel exactly the same injustices and injuries as everyone else, but it's the 'pregnant' pause that gives them space to process before they "punch".

In this brief period of processing, their spirit communes with the Holy Spirit to run a battery of tests before actualization.  The Holy Spirit throws out all kinds of intel to counter the fruits of the flesh.  They aren't always deep or mysterious questions or thoughts.  Often we think that being spiritual is 20,000 leagues under the sea kind of's not.  It's often right there under our noses if we just stop and give it a second.

"Is this worth it?"
"Are you sure about that?"
"How would that make you feel?"
"Are you willing to risk your relationship over this?"
"Who really wins if you say that right now?"
"Will you regret this tomorrow?"
"Just wait, it's no big deal."
"Are you reacting out of anger?"
"What will that effect if you do that?"
"Are you just being selfish?"
"Is this really about justice or you being right?"
"Give them the benefit of the doubt."
"Everyone needs a little grace, let it go."
"Why do you suppose that matters so much to you?"
"Let's run this through the Philippians 4:8 filter."
"It doesn't matter in the end.  Just calm down."
"Don't react out of emotion...sleep on it before you decide."
"Just bite your lip."
"Think about the other person's perspective.  What's their story?"
"This moment doesn't define you. Relax and Listen."
"You can't do anything about it, so enjoy the ride."
"Being angry won't change anything.  Keep your head screwed on."
"It's not about you, it's just not."
"Getting your way might cost you something more important."
"If you win this argument you will lose the relationship."

Patience is so underrated in an compulsive impulsive world.  But quick thinkers often have quick triggers and they struggle mightily with holding onto relationships.  They have to be right.  They have to say what's on their mind.  They will even say, "Well at least I'm keeping it real" when confonted, because they would rather be 'real and wrong' than do the hard work of doing what's right.

I think we live in an age that honors 'real' over 'right' and so patience has been eclipsed by passion.  Everyone worships passion even if there are some casualties along the way that could have been avoided.  We love action, fast action.  The "go with your gut" kind of stuff.  People hire for passion, because passionate people 'get things done'.  But often they get things done at the expense of other people.  Patient people tend to wait a little longer to make sure they 'get things done RIGHT' so that they don't deal with the backlash or fallout later.  Patience doesn't care about success or victory in the moment, it considers a long view of things.  That's why it will pump the breaks sometimes when others are hitting the gas.  It will show some restraint when it seems to make perfect sense to "leave it on the field".  It paces itself so that it has gas at the end of the race.

A patient person isn't a passive person.  That's an easy mistake to make in pegging patience.  They are just ok with less now for more later.  They listen to their conscience.  They care enough about honor and honesty that it's important to them that life and people aren't steamrolled by pride and prejudice, and yes, even passion.

This is the governor in the engine to guard us from foolishness and folly.

So today I'm wondering how to make room for this shunned virtue.  I've noticed that most of the successful people that I know possess this in spades.  They don't get as much done in a year as the next guy, but they are still standing respectably and successfully after 15 years with an army of people around them that would die for them if need be.

"Better a patient man than a warrior". - Proverbs 16:32


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