- Dr. Gil Stieglitz
Cultivating Patience in Your Life
In my previous posts in the Spiritual Gardening series, I talked about how God has given each person nine relational gardens, and that our job is to cultivate crops of love, peace, patience, joy, and so on in each of the gardens. The amount of joy we experience in life is based on the fruit that we have worked with God to grow in these gardens. In case you missed it, you can click HERE to read it so you can have some context about what we are talking about. If you recall, the nine relational gardens are outlined in the chart below. Today, I will talk about how to cultivate the garden of patience in your relationships.
Spiritual Garden of Patience
"But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control." (Gal. 5:22-23)
I was having a wonderful time praying and interacting with God the other day and the focus shifted to how long it has taken God to bring me to the place I am now. I am not perfect by any stretch, but I am very different from what kind of man I was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. God has patiently worked with me to be more wise, more knowledgeable, and more understanding of how the world really works. I have said and done things that were immature, foolish, or just plain wrong in the past, but He did not reject me. During my time with Him, He was pointing out how He had put up with my bad attitudes, selfishness, and wrong priorities, all the while loving me toward this day when I would be much more mature and our relationship was incredibly better. God was essentially playing the long game with me (Eph 2:10). He could see what I could become and what our relationship could become. He did not feel the need to point out all my flaws then or now. He keeps loving me and celebrating each new insight I gain (that He already knew), and each new step of growth towards becoming a better, more loving person.
When I am patient, I give God, myself, and the other person time to change to make the relationship better. I see how important patience is and remains in each of my relationships. There will always be things that can change to make a relationship better. When God the Holy Spirit prompts patience He is saying that we need to give Him, ourselves, or the other person time. What we are irritated by is not a big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
This is true in each relationship. There will be things that irritate and frustrate you about the other person(s) in the relationship. They will not be perfect. You think, "If only they would be this way; if only they would do that, then the relationship would be so much better." "I can't hardly be with them because they just keep doing that thing that bugs me." If you focus on the thing that bugs you, it could severely damage your relationship. One of the things that my wife, Dana, and I do when we are irritated or frustrated by the other is we wait two hours and or two days to bring it up to see if we can still remember what we were so irritated about. Most of the time we can't even remember what had us all worked up. We can remember being irritated but not what we were irritated about.
I have also heard the Lord whisper to me about being patient in all my relationships. Let the relationship grow over time. What would allow that irritating thing to change without talking about it? How could you positively encourage the relationship so that the irritating thing would disappear over the next 5 years. There have been things that I planned to talk with my wife and my daughters about 15 years in the future because they could not handle me talking about them at that moment. The ones that were really important God reminded me of all those years later and the discussions went so much differently than they would have if I had spoken out at the earlier time. God will prompt us to exercise His patience so that the relationship can grow. The relationship is more important than some petty irritation or frustration.
What is God prompting you to be patient about? What is He prompting you to attack in a very patient 15-year plan, rather than a right-now-confrontation? Let God prompt you to be patient and obey; your relationships will be better.
Here are a few verses to memorize and meditate on about the Lord and patience.
"The Lord, The Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;" (Exodus 34:7)
"The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit." (Ecc. 7:8)
"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;" (Col. 3:12)
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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