Patience- the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
If I am anything, patient is not it. Perhaps a product of growing up in an instant culture, I struggle majorly with patience. And on top of that, I am stubborn. So it takes a really long time for me to realize God is trying to teach me to be patient. I just keep hitting my head against the wall thinking one of these days it will move rather than step back and realize if I walked two steps to my left there would be an open door.
Something else you should know is I am a runner. It is my escape. I love to put on my running shoes, crank up my music, and run. But two years ago, shortly after running a half marathon, I limped home from a 5 mile run. I attempted several more short runs, only to end up quitting because I was in so much pain. I have spent the past two years seeing chiropractors and orthopedics only to be left with no answers. It seems as though I am an anomaly. Then about 7 months ago, in a moment of frustration, I tried one last chiropractor. I have no idea why I thought he might be able to help (at this point, I had seen three and one orthopedic only to be told I should just give up running). But I was determined to find an answer. I was not willing to accept the fact I could never be a runner again.
Fast forward 7 months to last Saturday and I was able to run 3 miles (you should know, I still don’t have an answer, but with a lot of therapy and ice, I can run again!). Granted it was VERY slow, but I ran 3 miles with no pain. When I got home, I wanted to cry and jump for joy in the same moment. As I processed my excitement, I realized in the last two years, while I was frustrated and impatient, God has been working on my heart. He has been stripping away the feelings of jealousy and competition as I watched those around me run and I was left sitting on the sidelines. He has been replacing my heart of impatience with one slowly learning to be patient and wait on His timing. And He has been preparing me to dive into a ministry that must be navigated slowly and a ministry partnership in which jealousy and competition have to be checked at the door. He is showing me how much I need to depend on Him and how little it matters the race others are running around me.
I have spent a lot of the last two years secretly frustrated I couldn’t run. I was jealous of people I barely knew because they were running marathons and I had to watch my goal of running 26 in year 26 come and go without being completed. I was angry at myself for not being able to run and upset no one had an answer. But in the middle of it all, God was molding me and preparing me. He was teaching me the answer is not as important as the journey, community is more beautiful than competition, and slow progress is just as beautiful as overnight success.
I have no idea what lies ahead, but I can assure you it will require a lot of patience, slow running, dying to myself, and learning to check jealousy, competition, and results at the door.