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I’ve heard the saying “you know, patience is a virtue” all my life.  It’s always been a hard pill for me to swallow, being the Type A, Choleric personality I am.  I like to know all the answers, fix every problem, and basically have things run my way. One of my favorite sayings used to be “my way, or the highway.” The subject of patience (or lack thereof) hits very close to home (and, to be honest, this post has been very hard for me to prepare).

In case you didn’t know, last year we bought some land. Wasn’t sure if it was an investment or what, but we bought the land. Then hubby sold the farm – hook, line and sinker. Then we decided to build on the land we bought. I thought, “this is good, we have a contract, everything’s under control.”  Well, sort of.

The pandemic caused supply chain shortages and disruptions. Builders are faced with material shortages, increased costs, getting vendors in line to do the work. I can’t control any of this – and some days I want to SCREAM.  Then I settle down, remind myself this too shall pass.  You’d think after 70 years I’d have the patience of Job, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

So after six months of grumbling and hissy fits, I found myself thinking about patience or the lack thereof. The basic definition of patience is “waiting without complaint.”  I don’t complain, do I? But I find myself complaining if I’m put out, or experience discomfort.  I’m such a cry-baby.

To complain is to make known one’s irritation or frustration about some matter. This doesn’t necessarily imply that we should say anything out loud. Usually, we complain by speaking directly about the circumstance that bothers us. But we also complain in nonverbal ways, with a sigh, a huff, a shake of the head, or a roll of the eyes. Many of us are quite expert (like me) at communicating our irritation in subtle ways to those closest to us, through means that most people wouldn’t recognize as complaining. But our target complainee (the person we complain to) gets the message loud and clear, and that’s all that matters. All too often I’m passing my discomfort onto others.

Let’s face it, patience is just plain difficult. I may not say it out loud, but I often express my impatience by rolling my eyes or curling my lips tight (then my nostrils flare like a bull ready to charge). Oh, yes, I am an expert at non-verbal communication.

When I decided to write on this topic, I took a good, long look at myself.  For me it boils down to fear.  Fear that I won’t get my way, fear that money won’t cover the costs, fear that I won’t be taken care of.  This very week, though, God proved yet the one-trillionth time, that He does take care of it all. We got a check from an insurance company we weren’t expecting.  Out of the blue, it covered costs to the penny of a bill we had to pay.  God repeatedly tells us He will meet all our needs. He says “delight yourself in the Lord … he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). When I’m truly seeking Him and searching myself, my heart condition becomes more like His.

The Apostle James tells us to “consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Storms in life are designed to build virtue in us, and among the virtues gained through difficulty is patience.

So patience is a virtue, a difficult virtue to learn for all of us. Each day, everyday, I must get up, suit up, and show up, while “preparing [our] minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13).

Thank you for letting me rant.

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