Here is round two of the fruits of the spirit : Patience. I decided to write about patience because it has been one of my biggest struggles! Let me know if you can relate at all!
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2
Patience. Boy oh boy have I been on quite the journey with that word. When they say patience is a virtue, they really mean it. In the beginning I felt like patience was actually my strongest virtue. To explain: growing up I was never a big talker, but I learned how to listen well. Through listening, I learned patience, through patience, empathy. By learning empathy, came kindness. One by one each of the virtues strung together. I knew God had a plan for me and I trusted it. I was gentle, compassionate, and faithful, but I had no idea that my patience was also going to test my faith the most.
Disclaimer: These examples happened quite some time ago. As with all things in my life, I am grateful for each and every experience, good or bad. With trials comes understanding and appreciation. And all is well that end's well!
Okay, lets take it back to when I was a youngin' and thought I knew everything there was to know haha. At that point I really believed I was patient. But then came along my first real relationship. It was then that my patience flew, and I mean flew higgggh and farrrr out of the door. Saying I love you? It was said before our first actual date. Premarital sex? Almost as fast as we said I love you. Planning on getting engaged? We were talking about it before our one month anniversary. Moving in together? Hmmm.... Well I mean NOT sleeping over two nights a week makes it "not technically" living together, right? That way I could still "technically" be following my christian faith, right? At the time, I didn't think of any of this as not being patient. I thought of it as being in love. Life was perfect, and how could something that felt so right, be wrong.? I thought of it as being with the guy I felt that in my heart was going to be my husband- plus, premarital sin doesn't count if you marry them, riiiiight? I mean I had found the one. That one whom I could pray and go to church with, laugh with, spend hours on hours talking to, have dance parties and be weird with, and most importantly be myself with. We read the Bible together, and prayed, and were good people, so that made it all acceptable, right? We had made our plans, but let me tell ya - God definitely had other plans.
Key word here: addiction. Addiction is hard, for each and every one involved. It doesn't always have to be a physical dependency, but can also take form in emotional dependency. In my case, it was a two way street. I dated an addict, but at the same time became addicted to saving them. Patience for God's timing? No thanks. I can take care of it. In fact, at that point, I still believed patience was my best virtue. I was empathetic, I listened, I was always there throughout the bad times, I encouraged, I prayed, I showed up. BUT let me be the first to tell you- just because I was patient with one* person doesn't mean I was patient with others, myself, or God. I put all this time into that person, that I wore myself out. I listened and listened until I couldn't listen to it anymore. Words without action just became words to me. The patience and empathy I once had disappeared. When it came to that listening that I used to be so good at? I didn't even have time to hear anyone else's issues. I was tired, and quite frankly, angry. Frustration and anger became deeply rooted inside of me. On top of that, God was silent (or so I believed) throughout my toughest time. But the truth is, I never fully handed him the reigns, I still wanted to be in control of the situation. Then came along : Example 3.
Sidenote* please tell me I'm not the only one that has done this at some point : being in a rut and start listening to music to find signs? Like as you turn on christian music - "oh yeah this next song is God talking to me and telling me what to do"....blah blah blah. But those songs literally all have positive messages, so of course you are going to find the "good" signs while ignoring the bad.
Phew. This was by far the hardest lesson on patience for me. Breakups. They can lead you to heartbreaks more painful than you ever could have imagined. If you thought I was impatient in those previous two paragraphs, here comes the worst of it. Impatience. Insecurity. Lack of self respect. Pain. Bad decisions. Regret. Jealousy. It was ALLLL included. I had believed every issue had stemmed from someone else's addiction. I never looked at myself in the mirror and realized how much of myself I had lost over time. I was set, and I mean set, on getting things back to the way they were in the beginning. In my mind the breakup was never meant to be permanent. I had done it in order to help him get better on his own, but the fact is that I never healed on my own, nor thought I needed healing at the time. I needed us to fix our problems the moment he seemed to be doing better. But was he better? Nope. Was I better? UHH Heck NO. I was NEVER patient with communication. I had zero self respect. I allowed certain treatment, knowing it meant I got to spend time with him. He grew and learned how to make decisions on his own, as I sat impatiently waiting and hoping for things to go back to how they were in the beginning. I waited for phone calls and texts, that usually only came if alcohol was involved. And because of that, I never grew. I would impatiently check his social media platforms wondering what girls he was with. I would impatiently start fights anytime we did speak out of hurt and anger. I would both selfishly and impatiently go on dates with other people only to take my mind off of him. How unfair is that to others? I would impatiently pray to God to let us go back to how we once were, and I constantly wondered why he never answered my prayers. That impatience led not only to a certain point in which we were far beyond any type of recovery or respect to be even possible between one another, but also a point where I didn't trust God, and I was angry with him.
As you can tell that although nothing was done with ill intent, impatience from the beginning set me up for continued difficulties. Love consumed me to where I placed a relationship above all else- above my morals, above my self respect, and even above my faith. Example one was impatience during the good times - and most joyous, example two the hardest time - and most draining, and example three the worst time - and most painful. All three had led to consequences. I became insecure, angry, hurt, and lost. I was short tempered and discouraged, and anyone who had similar issues I no longer had empathy for. I put my faith in a person, rather than the God who sacrificed his only begotten son. I had to learn that people will fail you, things will fail you, but our loving God never will. I usually fill my posts with different scriptures to relate to, but just like the scripture I opened this post with, I only feel like James 1:2 is necessary."Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." By testing my faith, God taught me to persevere so I may be mature and complete, NOT LACKING ANYTHING. He taught me that patience is beyond listening, it is an action. Patience taught me to be comfortable in being alone and getting to know myself. It taught me to have faith in God's plan in my life, and not to rush. It taught me that it's possible be impatient not only in the HARD times and WORST times, but also in the GOOD times as well, that in order to persevere we must be able to face trials of many kinds. As long as we continue to learn from our mistakes, strive to be better, and have the patience to wait for God's will, than everything else falls into place.
Things always have a way of working themselves out, and the crazy part is that your life could go in a billion different ways! These examples happened in my life quite some time ago, and although it took me a while to heal, it taught me what true patience meant. I now know the importance of not forcing anything, as well as waiting patiently through abstinence and God's will. His words are not meant to give us pointless rules and punish us, they are meant to teach us to be the best versions of ourselves - to give us joy, peace, love, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, self control, goodness, and patience. And I'm just going to continue exploring Australia while I work on each of the fruits of the spirit in the mean time!
Claire Planeta. (me)
Jesus follower. Traveler. Blogger. www.Instagram.com/vanity.claire