Monday, April 08, 2013

And Then There's Patience...

I had to chuckle when I realized that my earlier post, on worry, is the second (or maybe third?) post I've done on that topic this year. Clearly this is something on my heart, something the Lord is working deep into the fabric of my days.

But freedom from worry isn't the only area the Lord is working in. There's the little matter of patience...

The funny thing about patience is that until recently, I would have told you that it wasn't one of the virtues I needed to wrestle with much. Unlike worry, with which I obviously have a long track record, patience is something that I've more or less always thought I've been blessed with...or at least been blessed with enough.

It's only been recently that I've been recognizing in myself a spirit of impatience in certain situations. They're not always the biggies (how often, I am realizing, that's true in our spiritual lives!) but the little places that tend to trip me up unawares. I feel hasty and rushed to "get things done" when almost everything in my life is needing to move at a slower, more thoughtful pace. In trying to match my rhythm to that necessary pace, I sometimes stumble.

Take my computer, for instance. (Which sort of sounds like the start of one of those awful, old "take my wife...please" jokes from 1950s comedians!) It is so slow it's almost working backwards some days. I have spent time being actively grateful for it anyway, reminding myself of what a miracle even my dinosaur of a computer would look like to...well, I was going to say Laura Ingalls, but I'll just go ahead and say my grandmother, because that's true enough.

But some days I just have to laugh. I have so much to do...papers to grade, articles to write, reviews to write, research to conduct for writing projects, teaching, ministry work. And knowing it's all "out there" at high speeds just out of reach sometimes makes me feel like a wild horse chomping at the bit. (Forgive the drama, but we've been reading The Black Stallion during bedtime read-aloud...) I have days where I know what I need to do could only take "x" amount of time, but given technological issues, it takes far, far longer.

And I have two choices when that happens. I can get frustrated and ungrateful and waste *more* time complaining, or I can use the down-time of slow page loads to do something else pray.

I've been trying to make that my default lately. My habit has been to jump up and go do something else (fold laundry, load dishes, etc.) but that makes for a lot of jumpy time when I am going back and forth from one task to another, giving two minutes here and three minutes there. I feel dis-integrated when I do that too much. So sometimes, when I know a page load is going to take long enough to drive me batty but not long enough to really do much of anything productive (especially because sometimes I have to sit there refreshing the page) I'm closing my eyes, meditating briefly, asking the Lord to bring to mind who he wants me to pray for, and moving into moments of prayer.

I'm not there yet. But I suspect the more I try to work on this habit, the more patience he will work into the soil of my heart.

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