Faith Focus: When patience isn't a virtue

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” – James 5:7-8

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.”

Those four little words have the power to put me in an unbelievably bad mood. I think it’s because patience has never been one of my virtues.

I’m not talking about being patient while waiting in line at the grocery store, or staying on the phone when the operator puts me on hold. When I say I’m not a patient person, I mean I’m constantly dwelling on the future.

As a college student, much of what’s going on in my present will help determine my future. So it’s pretty easy to justify the fact that I tend to obsess over all aspects of the future.

I contemplate about whether I should go to grad school, where I might work, when I might get married, how many children I might have. When I’m at school, I like to have things planned out for the weekends so I have something to think about all through a long week of studying and working. Sometimes, I flip through my calendar and schedule things months in advance just to avoid doing homework or cleaning my apartment.

My name is Elizabeth and I am a future-aholic.

Last weekend, I was talking with a close friend about – guess what?! – my future. I was throwing myself a pity party, bemoaning my inability to wait on the Lord’s timing for my life, when my friend looked at me and smiled.

“Elizabeth,” he said gently, “in the Bible, it says God has given us all the spiritual gifts, like wisdom and kindness and patience. But it’s up to us whether or not to use those gifts.”

My friend’s words were the best kind of rain on my future-obsessed parade. It had never occurred to me I might already have the gift of patience; I’m simply refusing to let myself use it.

This summer, my prayer is that the Lord will allow me to use the gift of patience for his glory. I want to understand his perfect, impeccable timing for my entire future. I want the Lord to shake me out of this self-obsessed, future state of mind. I can’t wait to see He has in store.

No. Actually, I can wait.

Elizabeth Starr is an intern for Buckner communications this summer. She will be a senior at Baylor University this fall.

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