PATIENCE || 2017

“Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.”

—Psalm 27:14

Patience.

I have decided that is my word for 2017.

That’s also the thing I struggled with most in 2016.

Yesterday my pastor spoke a message on the superiority of God’s plan to our individual plans, and it spoke to me in such a powerful way.  I was convicted about how I have been trying to handle life on my own, and how I am always trying to make my own plans with complete disregard for God’s plans.  I realized I’ve been coming up with all of these plans for myself and trying to force them into action.  I’ve also been mentally planning things for other people’s lives and trying to will those things into existence as well.

And yesterday I thought, “this has to stop.”

The crazy thing is, we make these plans with good intentions.  We make plans because we all desire to have a purpose, and to live for something greater.  We don’t intend to blatantly disregard God’s plans when making our own, but that’s often what happens.  If we act only out of our own interests, chances are we never really consulted God for His guidance anyway.

So what can we do about it?  How do we reach patience?

I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m still trying to figure that one out.

But I can tell you that it starts with the peace of God.  Philippians 4:7 says that “the peace of God […] transcends all human understanding.”  When we have God’s peace, we grow ever closer to His spirit and it allows us to build an even greater trust in Him.  That trust leads to patience—patience in the waiting times, in the hard times, and even in the good times.

 

But let me tell you, patience is challenging.

 

It is hard to have patience when you have high expectations for yourself or for those you care about.

It is hard to wait patiently for doors to open, even though you know the Lord will open the right ones in time.

It is hard to serve patiently in one place when you feel called to two places.

It is hard to have patience when you put in so much work and still don’t succeed.

It is hard to have patience when you receive life-changing news about family.

It is hard to have patience when you are almost halfway through college and still have no idea what you’re doing with your life.

It is hard to remain patient when you work really hard for something only to see it fall flat on its face.

It is hard to have patience when you feel so strongly that something is right and it just hasn’t happened yet.

It is hard to have patience when you fall down and can’t figure out how to get back up on your feet.

It is hard to have patience when you’ve been rejected.

It is hard to be patient when everyone is asking what you want to do with your life and you don’t have an answer to that question.

It is hard to have patience in a waiting period.

 

This past year really challenged me spiritually and emotionally, and my patience was tried again and again—and I honestly didn’t have that much patience to begin with.  I think all of the experiences I had this year only brought me that much closer to understanding the patience that the peace of God can bring.

I also think I really struggle with patience in the waiting periods of life because I am always trying to understand God’s plan.  But I have learned that God’s greatness and wisdom are far above our own—I read something today that said “the more we realize that God is in control, the more readily we shift our trust in ourselves to trust in God—which provides far more comfort than trusting ourselves ever could.” There’s a passage in Romans that summarizes this perfectly:

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!  For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” —Romans 11:33-36

We may never know all the answers—a thought which used to stress me out, but now just adds to the beauty of God’s infinite control of our lives.  We HAVE to trust that His plan is great because we literally have done nothing in the past and can do nothing in the future without Him.  We trust that He will always be faithful in providing, all according to His timing—not our own.

God promises us in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.  Notice He doesn’t say “I plan to prosper you on January 2, 2017 by doing these three things.”  There is no date.  There is no timeline.  There is no outline of the plan.  Just a promise made by the ultimate Promise Keeper that He DOES have plans to take care of us!!!!  What more can we ask for??

One thing Pastor Chip said yesterday really stood out to me.  It reads like a personal goal: “Say yes today more than I said yesterday.”

Let me say that again.  “Say yes today more than I said yesterday.”

What a powerful line!  Let this be my prayer: that I am able to say yes to God’s plan today more than I said yesterday.  Let me submit myself to His authority and trust that His plan is greater than any I could have ever come up with—because the truth is that it IS.

 

So, here’s to you, 2017.  May you be full of joy and prosperity, but also full of patience and trust in God’s guidance.  I pray that you be a year full of growth and understanding, and a child-like faith in the Lord’s ultimate Plan, which far surpasses the glory of my own plans.  I will thrive in the uncertainty 2017 holds, knowing that God is directing my steps.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  2 Peter 3:8

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”  Proverbs 14:29

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”  Isaiah 30:18

Yesterday morning, we sang the song “I Will Look Up” by Elevation Worship.  It has this powerful message of patience and surrender that God really used to convict me.  I keep repeating the lyrics over and over in my head, because they are so comforting to me.

“All the worries of this world

I will lay them at Your feet

Surrender every anxious thought

For perfect peace, Your perfect peace”

I especially love this line.  Not only is God willing to exchange all of our anxious thoughts for peace, but he exchanges it for His peace, which is perfect and transcends human understanding (Philippians 4:7).

“All the loved ones I hold dear

All my hopes and dreams and all my fears

I will choose to trust Your name

In everything, with everything”

This stanza is special because of how much I value family.  Trusting God with my family’s well-being and safety and future requires a giant leap of faith for me, simply because of how much I care about them and want to do all that I can to provide for them on my own.

“I will look up for there is none above You

I will bow down to tell You that I need You

Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

 

I will take You at Your word

For Jesus You have taken hold of me

All my life is in Your hands

You are my strength, You are my strength

 

I will look up for there is none above You

I will bow down to tell You that I need You

Jesus Lord of all

 

I will look back and see that You are faithful

I look ahead believing You are able

Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all”

What a powerful message.  There is NONE above Him!!!  He has been faithful before and will be faithful in the future.  Our past is the record of His faithfulness and ability.  I can’t think of a better reason TO place all our trust in Him!

“Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer

All my life, all my cares on You

King of Kings, Mighty Savior

All my life, all my cares on You

 

I will look up for there is none above You

I will bow down to tell You that I need You

Jesus Lord of all

 

I will look back and see that You are faithful

I look ahead believing You are able

Jesus Lord of all, You’re Jesus Lord of all

Our God is Jesus Lord of all, You’re Jesus Lord of all”

I love the bridge of this song.  I think it really spoke to me today because a lot of my struggles this past year were health-related (see LaryngitisENOUGHWhen Jesus Took the WheelPerfect Timing).  He is not only the prince of PEACE, but He is the perfect HEALER.  For someone who sees about 11 doctors regularly, the idea of a Perfect Healer is so welcoming and inviting.  The Lord reminded me today in this one line that though I may sometimes have to struggle with physical health, He is always here for me and He heals my soul.

 

May this be a reminder today of the glory and faithfulness of God, and may it encourage you in your own walk with patience.

 

xoxox

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “PATIENCE || 2017

Add yours

  1. You always bring sweet tears to my eyes with your writings. Beautiful written by a beautiful young lady. Yes this is all something we need to learn-patience. So proud to call you my granddaughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your writing is truly amazing. I saw this at a very early age. I have wanted to reach out to you since you left years ago. Patience to find the right time is truly worth the wait. I hope you can see the abilities you have been given and how happy they make other people.

    Liked by 1 person

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