Putting Away the Childish Things Pt 5: If I Was Patient…..

If I was patient…

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…the lives of everyone around me would change.  People would be more inclined to smile when they saw me, instead of pausing to check for signs of my mood.

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…people would not hesitate to share their most intense burdens with me, because they would know that I was listening to them and not thinking about how to get out of the conversation.

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…then my kids wouldn’t wonder whether or not this is the best time to ask me questions about whatever is on their mind.

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…I would stop and think before reacting.

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…I would realize that anger rarely changes a situation for the better.

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…I would pause and remember all the times that my first impression was dead wrong – even those ones I swore were “spirit led.”

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…I would not have as much cause for regret.

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…I would stop wondering why people don’t understand what I am telling them, and simply accept that they do not understand – without judgment.

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…I could accept it when people do good things differently than I do.

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…I would stop stressing out about how perfect I am not at this moment, and would realize that God has plans for my future, not just for my now.

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…I would be more comfortable with lagging behind the knowledge seekers, in order to spend time learning to love.

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…I would gladly spend time cultivating good fruit, knowing that fruit is more readily shared than knowledge.

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…I would always stop and think, “What is it that I am planning on doing?  If I never see this person again, do I want our association to end this way?”

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I think that, at its core, patience is the antithesis of the “childish things” of I Cor 13.  Being patient is the opposite of being impulsive.

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When I am impulsive, I am often unkind, because I haven’t paused long enough to consider the consequences of my words and actions.  I envy — because I haven’t taken enough time to consider what I have and what things the person who I envy lacks.  I boast, generally because when I am impulsive I am generally self-centered in my thoughts.  I get angry at the drop of a hat, and in my anger I fail to protect, I do not care to hope or trust, and I have already given up on moving forward.

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I get impulsive when I get resentful of having to wait.  I want to lean on my own understandings.  I want to be justified.  I want to trust my judgment.  I don’t want to take the time to consider how easily led by the flesh I am.

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It is an easy thing, to claim that we want patience, but what most of us really want is perfect instantaneous discernment — and we want it so badly that we just ignore all evidence to the contrary.  Developing patience is painful because day by day, when we wait, we have to face the fact that the first thing that popped into our heads to say or do was foolish, or even evil.  Easier to just do the evil thing and write it off as the fault of the other person who provoked us, than to stop and weigh ourselves in the balance, carefully analyzing what our knee jerk reactions reveal about our character.  The cultivation of patience is excruciating.  We must constantly face who we truly are in the heat of the moment and must often find it unacceptable.

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Patience isn’t for people who want to see themselves as being justified and excused.  Patience is for those people who are sick and tired of watching others be hurt because our actions are both unjustified and without excuse.

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Patience isn’t for sissies.

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