Patience is an ever present alternative to the mind’s endemic restlessness and impatience. Scratch the surface of impatience and what you will find lying beneath it, subtly or not so subtly, is anger. It’s the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone (often yourself) or some thing for it. This doesn’t mean you can’t hurry when you have to. It is possible even to hurry patiently, mindfully, moving fast because you have chosen to. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Source:”Wherever You Go There You Are”
Just be patient, we say.
Wait your turn, we admonish.
Don’t be in such a hurry, we caution.
But how much time do we really have? Isn’t it always ticking down? Shouldn’t we move with a bit more urgency?
Or should we sit back with assurance? All will be well if we let it. No rush. Everything turns out in the end. If we’re patient.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11: 29-30
But rest isn’t a place we land accidentally. (Oh, look at that! I was resting and I didn’t even know it!… Don’t think so.)
Nor is rest a place we can run to. (Chest heaving from outracing her pursuer, she rested comfortably and drifted off to sleep. …Not!)
Rest is a condition. It’s a place we land when we adopt patience, whether by force of circumstance or by force of will. It’s a choice, not a giving in but a giving up of our own concerns for things in favor of a greater thing.
Rest is a state of being. We don’t just settle into it but we decide to employ it. It’s a weapon in our arsenal. A tool at our disposal. But first…
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28
Let us hurry to patience. Rest waits for us there.
Here are my most recent highlights from the Upper Room magazine devotional reading and writing. Just me and my daily doodlings, courtesy of the little book that reaches around the world. That God, He is always slipping in a good word when we’re not looking.
It is human nature to want to push the limits of what the law allows. But Jesus tells us that even thinking about breaking a law is breaking that law. (When God makes the law, stepping a millimeter beyond it means you’re standing in sin.)
Once my father grafted a pear-tree branch into an apple tree. In time, the grafted branch produced fruit that looked like an apple but tasted like a pear. (On God’s tree, I’m still me!)
When God calls us to do something, God gives us the ability to obey. (and the freedom not to)
(after a prayer of complaint) I expected to feel God’s displeasure, but I felt God was pleased, not with my complaining but with my willingness to trust God enough to express even the unpleasantness in my life. (Every offering has value to God, even the sour ones.)
Job wanted God to be his ultimate resource with the assurance that he was a child of God. “Before, you were only a theory to me,” Job was saying. “Now I know you are my ultimate reality.” (thank goodness my salvation doesn’t rely on me)
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) This, friends, changes everything. (thank goodness for Easter)
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15-16) (‘Keep up the good work!’ is a slap in the face to someone who can’t.)
People put forth extraordinary effort to get results. God wants us to put forth extraordinary effort to bring about the dreams God has for us. (Why would I work harder for my dreams than God’s?)
We were taught “stop, drop and roll” if our clothes caught on fire. (If our tongues are aflame) we might do well to “stop, breathe and pray.” (Fire prevention safety never goes out of style.)
“Tell her not to worry, because she is ‘strong like me’.” (Three words that will last a lifetime.)
Selah, (written in between stanzas in the psalms) probably means, “pause, and think of that.” (Pause and reflect, perhaps the greatest untapped power in the universe.)
Sometimes as Christians, we focus more on how we look than where God wants us to look. (nuf said)
where we teeter
at the intersection of
RUN FAST and BE STILL.
The deadline for the Lenten Devotional looms. The editors are EXPECTing my submission. But inspiration just won’t come. That’s the thing about inspiration…you just can’t force it. In fact, the harder I try, the less of it I seem to have.
Still, it doesn’t seem right to just sit here. Waiting. As if a lightning bolt is going to descend and write itself upon my paper in perfect insights, with perfect grammar and legible penmanship. There are plenty of sitters out there. Waiting. I am not good at either.
I need to DO something to hurry the inspiration along! I cut and paste a few verses of my chosen scripture (Song of Songs 2:8-13) onto the computer screen. A few different translations. Why not? I pour over them. Read and re-read. I take notes, look for connections, let my wander to visual imagery. I respond to the verses – in writing! – but to no avail. Everything lies flat upon the page. A day passes. Another. The deadline is mere days away.
And then suddenly a phrase enters my mind: No really, I love you. And I begin…”A man I love side-stepped death.” The scripture sends an image of lattice-work and the loved one calling. An image of the mullions on my very own windows. The lover looks in. I look out. What do I see? What would another see who stood here? Do they hear Him saying, “No really, I love you”?
The experience is powerfully crafting the writing as I wait on the images. Sitting and waiting, here I am after all. But the waiting is expectant. I am the fielder and it is the fly ball. I have heard the crack of the bat. I’ve got a line on it as it soars high in the sky. I try to gauge its descent, tending first right and then a bit left. I see it beginning to drop. I reach out my hand and open my glove wide. It is coming; I am ready to catch it.
Fielding inspiration when it falls is not easy. It takes practice and preparation. One must be ready. But sometimes the ball seems forever in the coming down. Those editors, after all, are waiting.
I type the last and hit submit. Then my friend emails to share that her dearest childhood friend had just succumbed to cancer. It was a long battle, but she still is not sure whether the departed came to know how much God loved her during her lifetime. Surely a God of mercy understands.
This is when I realize that the piece I had written was intended for a different deadline. It was meant to comfort a grieving friend and landed right on time.
My job is simply to settle under the fly ball of grace and catch inspiration as it comes down. Then, to prepare for the next. Kind of ridiculous to think I could force the ball to fall faster into my glove.