Let’s be real here… Most of us REALLY hate waiting. While waiting is certainly a component of everyday life, it almost seems as if we spend every. single. minute. waiting for something to happen: waiting for the bus, waiting to get that final grade back, waiting for class to be over, waiting in traffic, waiting for a significant other to text back, etc. (you get the gist of it). It gets frustrating, right? We wake up in the morning only for our entire day to be one big game of “hurry up and wait” — we enter a task only to wait for the next one to begin.
I will be the first to say that I hate waiting — frustration fuels my impatience and basically consumes my mind. During my first semester at UGA, I was impatient about a lot of things: Will I find a boyfriend? Will people like me? Will my professor actually learn how to teach? Will people in Athens learn how to drive? (still wondering about that one…). I was so preoccupied with speculation of the future that I forgot to live in the present… and honestly, I think a lot of people can relate to that. We get so caught up in “what’s going to happen?” that we totally ignore “what’s happening right now?”. We spend so much time worrying about the future that we fail to realize our actions in the present dictate the very thing we’re so unsettled by.
The future is full of uncertainty and wonder — a concept as terrifying as it is beautiful. If our impatient minds become consumed by contemplation of future endeavors, we are not able to focus on the things in our present life that truly matter (cultivating friendships, pursuing God, etc.). If we cannot control our present, our ambition dwindles and our faith suffers. And that’s exactly what happened to me. When I began my freshman year at UGA, I unknowingly burdened myself with impossibly high expectations. When I wasn’t able to meet these expectations, I basically questioned everything: my faith, my relationships, myself… and then I realized that this fairytale land of happy endings and rainbows I had created in my head would never be MY reality. Why? Because GOD is the author of our lives — we are only characters in His novel. He’s already written our story, and our only job is to act it out in a way that glorifies and honors Him. However, we will not always agree with his plot and we might even question his timing. THIS is why we must have the virtue of patience: it gives us the capacity to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” [Romans 5:3-4].
(bout to get a little crazy here!!!)
There is virtue in impatience, as well.
Yep. I said it. I know… y’all are probably thinking I’m crazy because I just spent this entire post talking about how impatience is essentially detrimental to those who possess it… but hear me out. If ones’ impatience connotes feelings of anger or annoyance, that is obviously not the virtuous type of impatience I’m talking about (duh). However, to do something “impatiently” entails that one is actively, fervently, hungrily, enthusiastically, and earnestly pursuing it. Impatience is of the mind — patience is of the heart. A hungry mind paired with a tolerant heart is the most powerful tool one can possess. If we really utilize this tool, we can
- Impatiently construct our futures
- Impatiently gain knowledge
- Impatiently pursue our goals
- Impatiently love others
Patiently trusting the Lord’s perfect timing, never failing to impatiently seek Him.
“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…” [Romans 2:6-7]
Waiting is hard, and God knows that. He knows that we’re imperfect and cannot always be patient with Him — but this is why He is patient with us. When we kick and scream and question His plan, He is patient. When we doubt His mercy and love, He is patient. We sometimes don’t realize that His ultimate plan for us is SO CRAZY AWESOME. Having patience through suffering will one day lead us to joy much greater than we could ever imagine. Laura Story says it best:
(“Blessings”, Laura Story… click on the lyrics to hear the song!)
Patience is like a hot cup of coffee… if you chug your coffee right once you get it, you’ll get burned. That’s why you just gotta relax, trust in the Lord, and take on life one cup at a time.