A Bitter-Sweet Truth

When you pray for patience, God will give you something to be patient about. 

A while back I was doing some bible studies about the Fruits of the Spirit and how to be more Christ-like. In case you don’t know or need a refresher, these are the Fruits of the Holy Spirit that are listed in Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I read one devotional that suggested focusing on one Fruit at a time for a couple weeks so that you don’t get overwhelmed trying to produce all the Fruit at once. So, I started thinking about which one I struggled with most in order to narrow down a starting point. 

After contemplating for a while I decided that I have the most trouble with patience. So my brain went on autopilot and I decided right then that I would be more patient. I prayed for patience and I was sure that I was all set; no more snapping at my sister or parents, forgiving with strangers that make unwise decisions, understanding with my teachers, etc.

That lasted… for about a day. 

And then I was back to being even more intolerant than before. That made me go even more into overdrive until I was losing patience with my inability to be patient, which defeated the purpose. Eventually, I gave up on it for a good month or so. Until recently, I was looking through old journals and found where I had gone through all of this and decided to pick up the subject again. But this time, instead of jumping straight to myself, I resolved to ask others about where they thought they struggled. And get this:

Almost every single friend that I asked said they wrestled with patience.

What are the odds, right? At first, I was convinced it was coincidence, but then I started asking myself why this may be. I began to think about the ease that technology has brought to this generation. We have our high-speed internet, our entertainment at the click of a button, our Amazon prime, our friends just a phone call away, and so much more. Then I took into consideration why my quest for patience failed in the first place, and that’s when it hit me:

We pray for patience but we want it now.

That’s a powerfully true statement. A painfully true statement. That is what I had been doing for all those many weeks. So upon this discovery, I realized that 1. My entire mentality needed to change before I would see any real difference, and 2. I can’t do it on my own. In order to really see a difference, I needed to give the whole subject to God and then await the results. I’m still working on this. It’s a slow process for patience (or any of the Fruits) to become habit. But along the way I have discovered something else that most people don’t take into consideration. 

When you pray for patience, God will give you something to be patient about. 

I don’t know about you, but that truth makes me laugh because it seems so obviously clear but it still blindsided me. Like, of course, if you need to work on patience then you need something to practice on. After hearing that, I have multiplied my everyday reasons to thank God. When I run into a person that’s really pushing me or a situation that has me bubbling over, I can slow my anger and take a moment  to thank God for giving me this bitter-sweet moment to practice being like Him through patience. 

How bitter-sweet, indeed. 

Start With 1 Minute

God doesn’t just want a moment with you; He wants to ignite a movement through you.

If you call yourself a Christian, then you’ve probably experienced a number of “moments” with the Holy Spirit. Let me preface this by saying that moments are great and there is nothing wrong with having them. However, it’s so easy to get sucked into being content with just one or two moments a year on Christmas and Easter or just having moments on Sunday morning, and then continuing to live without His presence in everyday life. But listen to this:

God doesn’t just want a moment with you; He wants to ignite a movement through you.

I heard that statement at a Discipleship Now a year or two ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. My faith used to survive off of moments, but my goal is for my faith to thrive off of them. It occurred to me that God can’t use these moments if I am hoarding them in order to validate my faith. But if I can give all the glory to Him, then He can use me to spark an entire movement.

So then, the question is: How do we keep the fire burning in our daily, weekly, yearly life? 

This is a good question because, honestly, there will be times when we feel like we are useless to the Kingdom. This feeling hits especially hard after a period of serving or being surrounded by other Christ believers; then, you go off on your own and don’t know what to do from there. If you’re feeling this way right now or have before, then you aren’t alone. Here’s what I have discovered on the subject.

Faith grows exponentially. It’s unrealistic to jump from 0-100%, without everything in between, and expect the results to be stable. A leader from my church told me to just start by trying to spend a full minute thinking about God (it’s deceivingly challenging) everyday. And then once you’ve got that down, go to 5 minutes, then 10, then 20. Soon enough you’ll start to crave His presence. And you don’t just have to limit it to thinking; open up the bible, pray, start a blog ;), sing if that’s how you praise. If you dedicate even that small amount of time everyday and ask Him to make you aware of His presence then the difference in your life will be evident. Why wait? 

No Longer Silent

“The Kingdom of heaven is everywhere, but when we remain silent, it remains hidden”. 

I’ve been inspired to start this blog to share my everyday encounters with Christ, as well as my journey to balance a faithful walk in the life of a high school teen.

“The Kingdom of heaven is everywhere, but when we remain silent, it remains hidden”.

 This past week I was serving with my church in San Antonio at a church geared toward the homeless. We were organizing clothes and were in need of more hangers. When the pastor and a student walked outside the building, there happened to be a donation truck across the street. One of the drivers had recently given his life to Christ and was more than happy to give us not only hangers, but also the rack they were stacked on! The pastor, Alex, came running back into the building exclaiming, “we asked for hangers; God gave us some hangers”! He proceeded to tell us that The Kingdom of God is everywhere but it will remain hidden if we don’t open our eyes to see it and spread the good news to others. So I, for one, am simply no longer content with remaining silent.