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Pause for interruptions

Patience is better than strength. Controlling your temper is better than capturing a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

Most of us recognize patience is a virtue, but many times we forget just how patience is learned - through trial and tribulation! It takes a little bit of the "troubling of the waters" in our lives to teach us the infinite lessons of patience. When you pray for patience, you are actually praying to have the waters stirred up with even a few waves added! That revelation might just change the course of your prayers! We have those moments when the thing we are expressing is the furthest from what we might label as the virtue of patience. Learning how to respond in patience is what some call conforming your conduct to some moral or ethical principle. I call it the divine work of the Holy Spirit in us in any area where he did not previously exist or have access! Most of us pray for strength and patience in the same breath, don't we? Yet, patience is better than strength. Strength might give us the stamina to accomplish the task, but patience gives us the emotional fortitude to actually endure till the end. 

Fortitude is the combination of the mental and emotional strength we will need to face difficulty with some pretty extreme courage at times. I think patient people are very courageous - when faced with adversity, danger, and even temptation, their response is one of waiting on the Lord to lead them through the tough spot they are in. It might do us all well to recognize waiting is part of patience and waiting requires a whole lot of courage at times! There are times when it is hard to be patient - especially when we don't understand the other person's perspective. If you have ever found yourself waiting in line behind someone who is trying to dig for their pennies at the bottom of their purse, or perhaps the cashier has to go through the tall stack of coupons they have, you probably have been faced with a little bit of this thing called "impatience". If you stop for just a moment, taking in the possibilities of the other person's perspective, you might change how you are responding in that moment. The one digging for coin in the depths of the purse may be on their last few cents, trying hard to get together just enough to make it through till payday. The one cashing in on the coupon deals may need to save those dollars because it is the way they help bless others with what they are able to buy "extra" when they coupon. Putting ourselves in the shoes of another often changes our perspective of the situation - and it changes our perspective of the wait!

A warrior sees the battle ahead - narrowing their sights on the nearest target and then taking it on with all the ability they have. A leader of warriors sees the battle from a different perspective - they consider the strategy of the entire battle - not just the immediate battlefield. I think patience requires us moving from just doing battle, to learning the strategies of the battle as a whole. The warrior might know how to take the city - the leader knows when the timing is right, the conditions are in their favor, and the importance of waiting for both! I can make pretty quick decisions and take pretty prompt actions - but are they always the best? In case you don't know the answer - it is "no". Sometimes we avoid the "best" for the pursuit of the "quickest". Guess what? As long as we are always going for the quickest, we will never learn the lessons of patience. Waiting is only one part of patience. The other part which seems to trip us up on occasion is this whole idea of getting interrupted when we are in pursuit of something. Have you ever been interrupted by the need of another? It is THEIR need. MY need might differ. I have to change my perspective to recognize their need. Part of dealing with the frustration of interruptions is the "quickness" by which we can put ourselves in the other person's shoes. I have come to appreciate interruptions as God's way of revealing something to me I would not have otherwise seen or keeping me from something I would not have wanted to experience. When we begin to see interruptions as "divine" rather than "unwanted" and "frustrating", we might just appreciate them as times of protection, opportunities for learning, and moments of connection.

Jesus had a whole lot of delays in his time on this earth - waiting for others to "catch up" to where he was. His disciples, closer to him than most others, didn't even really "get" what he was doing on this earth, right up to the very end. He endured a whole lot of interruptions - not once concerned for how it would affect him. He was showing us how to look beyond our OWN need to see the need of ANOTHER. See past the evident into the probability of the hidden. He focused not on the immediate issue as much as the importance of keeping in mind the strategy of the bigger picture. I don't know your exact circumstances today, but I do know you will be faced with opportunities to need both strength and patience in what it is you are dealing with. Remember to keep in mind the idea of "perspective" - look beyond the obvious, there may be more hidden just beneath the surface. You might need to seek out another to help you bring clarity and to sort out the conflict of emotions, indecision, and frustration you are facing - their perspective could just give you a new one yourself. Just sayin!


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