Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Learning to Wait

My friends often tease me that of all of the fruits of the Spirit - "...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23), patience is the one I struggle with the most. 

Over the years, I've discovered that I am a "big ideas" person. I'm always thinking about the big picture, the next big task, the next big goal to meet. I become easily bored and I struggle to thrive in the day-to-day doldrums of life. I'm an impatient mom with my children, I'm an impatient driver, I can be an impatient friend.

My fruit of the Spirit of patience is that one ugly, shriveled grape at the end of the vine.

Learning how to wait and improve your patience.A few days ago, God blessed me with an incredible opportunity. I was a breakout group presenter at a conference for teenagers. I talked about stress and anxiety, and it was such an amazing experience. I left excited and ready for the next time. I had talked about some other opportunities for the next year with someone and thought, "well, that might be something nice to do in the next few months." 

That calm, patient attitude lasted literally less than 24 hours. Suddenly, I wanted the "next time" to happen now. I started googling speaking jobs, trying to figure out where to go, how to do it. I didn't sleep much and I felt restless and impatient.

This morning, my mind was still kind of all over the place. I literally sat in my car and took a deep breath. I had to simply pray, Lord, please help me to just be. To accept Your mighty plan for my life and to rest in the belief that You've got this all figured out.

Whew. I literally felt His peace.

I felt calm. I enjoyed time with my mom and felt relaxed. Several hours later, when I least expected it, I got a text from a friend who had another opportunity for me. 

I realized that I can plan my life to a T, but ultimately, when I just sit back and breathe deeply, when I trust in God, when I let Him take control, he brings me opportunities that are in His will. Sure, I could apply here or go there, but would it be His will? Or would it be mine?

A good friend of mine was talking about a situation where he was trying to brainstorm and create solutions to a problem. He was trying to force a solution, until his wife finally asked if that was a God plan or his plan.

A lack of patience means that when God's plan isn't clear, I tend to scribble all over it with "Hilary's Plan." If a solution or opportunity isn't immediately obvious, I will create one myself.

I have so many big goals and things I want to do, and honestly, if I pushed hard enough, I could probably make some of them happen. I could write an okay "Hilary's Plan" for my life. But it would be like drawing the plans for digging a hole, when God's plans are for the Grand Canyon. 

See, the disadvantage of being impatient is I grab my shovel and start digging the hole, so I miss God's plan for my life. I rob Him of the glory of what he's doing. I stand in front of my pathetic hole I dug and say, "Look, what I did," completely missing that He can use me for so much more if I would just wait.

When I push Hilary's Plan, I find myself exhausted from the constant thoughts of fix. things. now. However, it's amazing how when I'm patient and allow God to implement His plan, I find myself energized and focused. Speaking engagements fall on days that I already have off of work, friends help me with tasks so I have more time with my spouse, I suddenly have the energy and motivation to do what God has called me to do. 

I've realized in the last few months that my plan pales in comparison to God's. I'm pretty sure that if God, the all-mighty creator of the universe, "counts the stars and calls them all by name" (Psalm 147:4 NLT), he will bring piddly-little me opportunities that allow me to bring Him glory. I just need to breathe and be patient. And even if I start to panic, I know that if I pray for "God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 4:7 NLT), that peace will help me stay grounded, focused and relaxed. 

I can't promise that I won't have moments of panic over the next few months, but by God's grace, I am finally on a (slow) road to patience.

2 comments:

  1. So beautiful Hilary! Patience has been a huge struggle of mine as well. Slowing down to breath and pray always helps. Great insight thanks for sharing! :)

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