So, my final semester of college is coming to a (very agonizing and incredibly slow) close. This has caused me to do a lot of simple reflecting on my life as a college student. There have been countless ups and downs and upside downs over the past few years. Some classes were good, some rough, one particular was a failure. Friends were made, some were lost. However, one thing that I can say throughout my tenure as a college student is that it definitely has not been in vain. God has been incredibly gracious throughout everything I have gone through since entering a college campus almost five years ago.
But, one thing I would have never anticipated, and current Seniors and those who have already graduating can tell me of different experiences, is how amazingly impatient I have become over the past year. It’s probably a mixture of Senioritis and Capstone projects, but for crying out loud I have just lost all ounces of patience in my life. Granted, I guess there has to be some left since I still have friends that have tolerated my impatient attitude. But, whether it is at work or school, I have slowly began to notice my lack of patience regarding things in my daily life.
Sudden deadlines. Overwhelming projects. Inconsiderate professors. Rude customers. Frustrating coworkers. These are things and people that I have come in contact with almost on a daily basis over the last year yet I have seen myself in many moments losing temper more easily. Huffing and puffing at customers. There are honestly too many times A DAY that I tell myself, “That’s it! I’m so over today. I’m done!” If you have kept up with this blog over the past couple years, you know one of my favorite blogs I have ever written is titled “I’m Not Done.” Ironically, I am so done!
Why, though? Why have I become so impatient? Most of it probably comes from the constant rush of school, if you want to get to the surface of it. I am constantly trying to meet deadlines while dealing with five different discussion forums just for ONE class per week. I wake up, go into my quiet time with God, but deep down all I can think about is, “I have this assignment I need to start one,” or “I have to go into work and won’t have time after to do this or that.” My lack of patience has come down to me thinking that I don’t have enough time to handle everything.
One of my good friends says something quite often. Granted can’t remember if actually came up with the quote or not, but he’ll say, “I used to think I don’t have enough time. Actually, I have too much time.” Now, more than ever, we have way too much time. Yet, I still feel like I am in such a hurry. This mindset no longer is about me trying to manage time and get everything done. It has hurt my mind and heart because I am not focusing on my kind and joyful but instead impatient and worried.
Scripture tells us that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). However, there are other fruits to go along with it. There’s love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22-23). As I started my Christian life, I thought that each fruit were just different fruit from the same tree. I just found out about a tree that can grow up to 40 different types of fruit. That is incredible! But it is one that doesn’t happen naturally. This was by one man’s mind and vision. For us, we are natural trees producing natural fruit of the Spirit of the Living God. Therefore, it would make sense for us to bear natural fruit. Which means patience is not a different fruit than love or joy. They are the same. If I lack in one, I lack in all.
This has been true and evident recently as my lack of patience has caused me to stumble in the ways I love other people or spread kindness to others or even control my thoughts when it comes to sin. If one lacks in one fruit of the Spirit, he lacks in them all.
I then begin to think, “Well, how do I produce more patience in my life?” I turn to James 1 when he begins to instruct followers of Christ just how to grow in those weak areas of life. He claims for “every person to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (1:19). To grow in patience, do we become “quick to act” or “quick to manage time well” or “quick to finish homework on time”? No, it says to be “quick to hear.” Listen well and quickly to others around you not so you can speak quicker but instead it becomes your initial response. Our initial response is not to be quick to act, but to be quick to listen. To hear. To think so we can respond with patience when facing angry or annoyed situations.
James later says that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness” (talking about the impatient thoughts about others and situations) “and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls,” (1:21). As Christ-followers, producing the righteousness of God should be a true and desired goal. So, when we take moments with lack of patience, our pursuit of achieving our goal falls flat. Our anger, bitterness, annoyance, whatever you may call it, does not produce holy righteousness but instead leads us to “rampant wickedness.” Our goal is to be absolutely humbled in those moments so the people around us will be met with the grace of the “implanted word” of a patient God. For by Him, we have been saved all because He was truly patient with us. Therefore, let us produce the powerful fruit of patience to show the amazing grace of God to those in our lives instead of respond with quick thoughts of annoyance and bitterness.
Also, if you see a Senior, high school or college, give them a hug! They really need it right now.