I can’t tell you how honored I am to have an opportunity to share a little bit of my story with you. I’m all about being real and honest, even when the truth is ugly, because it gives people a chance to see just how beautifully good God has been to me. My life is about as far from perfect as you could get, but therein lie so many chances to see the grace, goodness, and glory of God. So let’s get real, shall we? ;)
My fiancé, Chris, and I have been together for a little over four years, and I went into the relationship thinking of myself as a pretty dang patient person. I don’t really have a temper, I’ve never completely lost it with anyone (except that one time with the girl in the 2nd grade…but in all fairness she totally started it when she made fun of my lunch box); yes, I thought I was quite patient.
Cue rude awakening in 3, 2, 1…
Ha! Suddenly my life was joined to this man’s life in a way I had never experienced before, and I realized how far from patient I really was. I would express some desire or worry to him, then get hurt and angry when his behavior didn’t immediately change. One example is the way he communicated when he was upset. I am a total talker, with a definite need to talk everything to death. Chris, when upset, would shut down and go silent. I told him a couple of times that I needed him to open up to me in those times. You can imagine my shock and awe when he didn’t change overnight.
Patient (adj): 1. able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Hey, now. Woah. That is way more than I’d bargained for. “Accept delays without becoming annoyed or anxious”? Annoyed and anxious was pretty much the definition of how I was feeling. How could he know how I feel and still not have changed? Doesn’t he know communication is the key to a good relationship? Doesn’t he WANT us to be together? There’s no way this will work.
Ah. The musings of a patient woman. ;)
Thankfully, God stepped in and did what He so often does with me: showed me how flawed my thoughts were and how desperately I needed to see the situation through His eyes. God did not see a man choosing to stay quiet against his girlfriend’s wishes. God saw His son, totally unsure of how to communicate in a healthy way but slowly opening his heart to the possibility of learning how. Here I was, getting annoyed and anxious because I hadn’t seen any marked change. But God, in His mercy, showed me that there was so much more happening than I realized. The bigger realization was this: God looked at Chris, just as he was, and was pleased. That truth came to me in worship one day. On the drive to church, I’d been silently rehashing all the things I’d brought up that I still hadn’t seen change in – areas I longed to see him grow in, and my heart was full of bitterness as we walked into service. (I told you things would get ugly). During worship I was complaining to God about these things, when I snuck a peek at Chris. As I looked at him, I felt God’s still small voice speak straight to my heart: “I love him”. And it was a true “I love him”. God was telling me, “I love him, just as he is. Right in this moment. He is my son and he pleases me.”.
Needless to say, my heart was changed. I finally began to see Chris not as a man indebted to me because he knew my desires, but as a son of God growing alongside me. And that brought a purity I had never known to my love for him. I gave myself so much grace for the process I had to go through to change in certain areas of my life. Finally I could see that this man was being transformed day by day as well, and that I needed to extend the same grace and patience to him.
Ultimately, I found that true patience is rooted in trust. I am patient when I trust that God sees the desires of my heart and has plans to honor them. I am patient when I trust that Chris is secure in His hands and that His plans for him are better than any I could ever dream of. I am patient when I trust that God’s grace is enough for us today and that in the future He will complete the good work He has started in us. My patience and resulting peace and lack of frustration/anger have little to do with me and much to do with Him.
Princesses, always express your wants and your needs to the ones you love. Otherwise they’ll never know how to satisfy you. But don’t make the same mistake I did by seeing their growth through selfish eyes. Ask God to show you how He sees them, and trust Him to be the one who comes through for you. I promise, you won’t be disappointed when the one you are patiently waiting on and trusting in is Jesus.
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