Posted by: New in Every Way | September 4, 2012

Be Patient . . . with Yourself

~~  Removing Roadblocks to a Healthy Self  ~~ How Real Life Connects with the Bible

One of the dominant impressions of Rome described by a friend of mine was of the busy streets. She said the flow of traffic was not really governed by signal lights or laws but by watching other vehicles and trying to stay out of each other’s way while charging full-speed. If a pedestrian started across a street, he had better keep moving at a steady speed so drivers in each lane could gauge whether or not they needed to slow down for him.

Sounds like my life! I thought, when I heard it. If someone says they’ll meet me for lunch at 11:30 but doesn’t show until 12:00, all the other activities I’ve scheduled for the day crash into each other in a major pile-up. Now I won’t have time to address and mail invitations to a neighborhood barbecue before going to my next appointment. . . . And if the invitations don’t go out today, I may have to reschedule the event. . . . And there’s no place to move this event without rescheduling something else. . . . I’m sure many of you can relate.

I say all of this as background to a confession: I have a tendency to run a little late. Not a lot—I take other people’s time—and my word—seriously and I do hustle to be somewhere when I said I would be. However, I don’t like to “waste time” by leaving “earlier than necessary” for an appointment. I knock one or two more tasks off my to-do list before heading out the door. Consequently, I used to annoy my husband no end by being five to ten minutes late.

One afternoon, since I had kept the car that day, I headed to town to pick him up from work. I left too late, was pulled over for speeding, and arrived at his office ten minutes late. When we got home, he was still complaining about it. Suddenly, he said, “Look at you! You don’t care. You’re not even sorry.”

“Yes, I do care,” I said. “I am working on being prompt. . . . But I can’t hate myself. If you really can’t stand the way I am, you can leave me. I can’t! So I can’t hate myself. I have to be patient with me.”

It was a new thought for him. I think he kind of liked it.

“God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Still, he doesn’t ignore sin” (Exodus 34:6-7 MSG). 

Making It Personal

  • If God is patient with us, should we be patient with ourselves?
  • What is the point of all this patience—to say, “Oh, well,” about our shortcomings? Or to give us the heart to overcome them?

 

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