November 18, 2012 by Kara Nichols
There’s one word that is like nails on a chalk board to me: patience. It’s the virtue I’ve never possessed. And it’s the lesson I must learn. Saint Augustine said that patience is the companion of wisdom. And I’ve been told that all good things come to those who wait. Me? I’ve rushed everything from boiling pasta to serious relationships.
But there’s hope for me yet because I am currently in some situations in which I must exercise patience or become extremely frustrated and disappointed. Can I get a witness?
The main situation is losing weight & exercising. If you read my post from earlier this week you know that I’ve been a yo-yo dieter/exercise queen since the tender age of 8. And if you know me at all you know that up until a week ago I was drowning in depression for a number of months. Being depressed is not the best time to try a new workout plan or change to a healthier lifestyle. I just bummed around being all bummed out.
But now I feel like I am ready for some action. Make smarter food choices. Watch my portions. And walk, walk, walk.
Now I’m the type of girl who likes results. I guess all of us are that way, right? I want to be able to notice my pants are a little more roomy after walking one mile. I crave the promise of a quick fix.
The Bible has a lot to say about patience but this is one of my favorite passages: James 5:7-8 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.
I love the visual of the farmer waiting for his crops to grow. I guess I need to think of walking and eating right as seeds I am sowing now so that I can have a bountiful harvest later. I guess I’m afraid of failing. Because truth me told, and this is obvious, I’ve had little success with weight loss and exercise in the past. What makes this time different? I don’t know. But maybe it’s time to embrace the questions. The unknowns.
Poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.”
Another one of my nasty habits is having the go big or go home attitude that goes hand in hand with impatience. Like, I’d commit to running a half marathon before being able to walk 3 miles consecutively. Deep down I want to be a runner. I’d settle for being a walker. And I’ll be honest, if last weekend at the women’s retreat wouldn’t have happened, I would not be this psyched about trying to get in shape again. But experiencing God’s love in such a deep and tangible way have left me hungry for more. I’m chopping at the bit to get my life in order.
Faith is believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. – Voltaire
It is beyond reason that I will be able to get fit. I’ve tried a million different things a million different times. And yet, I remember I am a child of God. I am loved by Jesus. And I know He wants me to be happy, he knows what it will take for me to be healthy. It’s no longer about a number on a scale, or a dress size, it’s about getting my heart right with my Father. Who, while loving me just as I am, exhorts me to take care of my body, which is His temple.
I Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Those verses leave me speechless.
I just visualized a new goal. More like a dream. I want to run on the shoreline of the ocean. It might not happen for a few years (see: patience). But I want that. I can just see me now – the sun is sinking behind the waves, music rocking on my ipod and I’m praising Jesus with every step I take. Yeah. That’s worth the wait.
And I’m not alone in this. I have support from my friends, boyfriend, family and Savior. Seems like a good time to remind myself of Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I realize there will always be occasions in which my patience is required. I want to rise to that occasion instead of trying to manipulate it.
Dear God, You see my heart, you see my desire to change and be more patient. I ask that you give me the skills I need in order to have patience. I want to show you that I trust your timing and judgement in all things great and small. I have faith, and I embrace the questions, and I want to have my temple to be beautiful for you. Will you take walks with me? It would be a great time for us to talk. Will you please grace me with the courage and stamina needed to make these changes? I also ask that you send the right people into my life who will be an encouragement to me in this area. I can’t wait to run on the beach with you!! It will be so fun.