on monday, students got off for president’s day and teachers got to meet to talk about the soon-to-be new state standards. while the day was informative and important, the most valuable information i was given was actually from a set of posters on a teacher’s wall at the school we were visiting. the teacher had posted a wall of “character qualities” and wonderful, succinct definitions of them. one that stood out specifically was this one:

patience: accepting a difficult situation without giving a deadline to remove it.

i will be the first to admit that patience has never been my strong suit, but even more than that, i’m not sure it’s ever been something i’ve desired. when i think through the fruits of the spirit, they start off so well: love, joy, peace. all things i desperately desire in my life, and which probably every other human on the planet desires as well. and then they change it up and say the next one is patience. if i’m being truly honest of myself, what i’ve always wanted is that everyone else and everything else meet my every desire in a timely fashion and totally eliminate my need for my patience.

in the past 6 weeks of student teaching, i have come face to face with the fact that everyone else is not going to meet my every desire in a timely fashion, or at least, fifth graders are not. neither are my closest friends, people at my church, or my classmates. i have come to realize that either i need to work on developing patience or get used to feeling unjustly bitter a lot of the time.

Ann Voskamp posted a thought provoking blog about patience a few years ago. She quoted Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, who said, “The greatest temptation of our time is impatience, in its full, original meaning: refusal to wait, undergo, suffer.” Voskamp continues to marvel at the fact that therefore, patience must be the willingness to wait, undergo, and suffer.

we’ve just entered into a new season in the church calendar: lent. lent is a season in which some denominations give up different worldly vices or other enjoyments in order to become like Christ by sharing in his sufferings: to understand the fullness of what Christ endured for my sake and to demonstrate a willingness to surrender anything and everything out of thankfulness, reverence, and an understanding of redemption. how can i be struggling with impatience a refusal to suffer during this season?

i pray that during these next 40 days, you will examine your heart and find what it is that you are not surrendering to God, despite his having surrendered his own son for you, and then i pray that you will find a way to surrender it. i pray that you will find it redeemed and find yourself changed. how blessed we are to know that this surrender comes with the promise of redemption, that this season of lent comes with the promise of Easter.

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