In this Issue
Feature Article: "Is 'Wait' a Four-letter Word? Learning the Art of Developing Patience in Your Life "
Joy and Strength Devotional
Marriage Mentoring Teleseminar on April 2
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Is Wait a 4-Letter Word? Learning the Art of Developing Patience in Your Life
Waiting is undoubtedly one of the more difficult things in our lives that we are called upon to do. The messages we receive in our society tell us that we deserve to be happy and then proceed to reinforce to us that our happiness and fulfillment will come from possessions we own, achievements we accomplish, or relationships we have.
When those things fail to satisfy, many choose to check out of their commitments, whether those are marriages, careers, friendships, or personal goals, in order to find the happiness that eludes them.
Or you may find yourself in a "wait" mode for any or all of these things. Many singles we know are "waiting" for the right one to come along. Couples who are married without children are "waiting" to have children. Those who are frustrated in their careers are "waiting" for a promotion or a job transfer to a more productive environment. Parents enduring the teenage years with their children are "waiting" for them to graduate and be launched on their own. Others are "waiting" to purchase a home, graduate from college, or any number of things that they believe our contentment is contingent upon.
Each of these situations can try our patience, and if not viewed with a godly perspective, can cause us to lose hope and give up. Let's look at what patience is, how God develops it in our lives, why it is so difficult, and keys to victory along the journey.
Webster's defines patience as the following:
– Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
– Manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
– Not hasty or impetuous
– Steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity
– Able or willing to bear
The Greek word for patience, makrothumeo, means to be patient or to wait patiently. A related concept in Greek is the word hupomeno, which means to endure, to hold out, stand firm, bear, put up with, undergo, remain or stay behind.
As we look at what is in common in these definitions, we see that patience requires remaining calm, and it is demonstrated only during times of stress, trials, difficulties and adversity. It requires a cheerful attitude, accompanied by a willingness to endure without complaint the difficulties that come our way.
We also see that endurance is required as our situations may involve difficulties that are not ending, or at least, not any time soon. Our level of patience and growth in these areas are "untested" until we are faced
with major difficulties over an extended period of time.
Suffering and trials are the way that God uses to develop patience and perseverance in us.
Therefore, we clearly see that there is no possibility for the development of patience unless we experience challenges. Our goal then becomes not to seek happiness or attempt to avoid pain through altering our circumstances, but rather to respond properly to the normal trials that come to us as part of living in a fallen world.
Why do we experience so much difficulty developing patience? I have discovered there are two primary reasons:
- Lack of Trust in God
We wonder if He's going to come through for us or if He has "fallen asleep at the wheel" of our lives. Worst case scenario, we question whether His plan is best, or if He might attempt to force us to do something we won't want.
These fears and anxieties reflect a lack of trust in and knowledge of God. These fears can be allayed as we truly grow to know Him, His love, His character, and His care for us. Only at that point will we will cease to question Him, or to be anxious about His intentions and actions in our lives.
- Fears and Insecurities
These inevitable result of all of these fears and insecurities will lead us to a desire to control and to take matters into our own hands. As we do this, interfering often with God's plan and timing for our lives, we can create additional problems and devastating consequences.
Keys to Victory along the Journey
So what are the keys to victory along the journey? There are three, which if chosen consistently, will lead us to a victorious experience along our path of life, even if we are still experiencing difficulty.
Many people fail to find contentment throughout their lives. However, our lives are a series of seasons, each of which holds its own particular source of joy. Singleness provides a level of freedom that marriage and children preclude, while marriage creates companionship and relationship that singleness does not. Each season of life is to be embraced and valued, and once it has ended, it won't come again! Other insights include doing the tasks that are before us, in each season of life. For the answer to our problem may lie in the task! And ask God for wisdom, always be prayerful to discern His will during each season of our lives.
- Draw close to God in our pain and suffering
Suffering has the capability to show us our dependence on Christ like nothing else can, and also to build our relationship with Christ as well. Suffering also develops compassion in our hearts for others who struggle that we might never attain otherwise.
- Choose Gratitude
We can make a choice to choose gratitude amidst the difficulties we face. We can recognize God is doing important character-building work in our lives and that there are many blessings in our lives despite our current difficulties we face. We can share our lessons with others when the trial is over, so ask God to teach you all He wants you to learn during the difficulty you are undergoing.
Joy and Strength has been a wonderful devotional and a source of inspiration and comfort to me for almost 20 years. One of my favorite encouraging entries I read often during my long years as a single was from November 19:
Dan. 2:22 - He reveal deep and hidden things. He knows what lies in darkness, and the light dwells with him.
God is too wise not to know all about us, and what is really best for us to be, and to have. And He is too good, not to desire our highest good, and too powerful, desiring, not to effect it. If then, what He has appointed does not seem to us the best or even to be good, our true course is to remember that He sees further than we do and that we shall understand Him in time, when His plans have unfolded themselves, meanwhile casting all our care upon Him since He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:6-7).
If we follow these steps, we will see the result of God's work in our lives - a more patient heart. May we all clearly reflect the heart of God and of Christ as we demonstrate a patient, enduring spirit amidst all of the challenges of our lives.
Recommended Resource To Maximize Tomorrow's Leaders Today
The Parrotts' manual is an excellent resource for any pastor or church leader who desires to establish a marriage mentoring ministry in their church. It contains leadership applications (which you may modify to include specifics for your church), marriage mentoring report forms, positions descriptions and other helpful information. For more information or to order your copy, go to:
With enrollment this month in an upcoming teleseminar or the purchase of an information product, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to serve you.
Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter, such as hiring or managing staff, inspiring volunteers, or preventing burnout, for examples. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.
Many prayers and blessings to you all,
Relationship Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize individual and organizational performance.
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