I’ve shared a lot about the physical clutter I kept for years in my home; things I didn’t get rid of out of fear I might not have it if I needed it… or guilt that someone might know I got rid of a gift they gave me… or laziness because I had other things I wanted to do besides go through my piles of junk.
For so many years, as long as I could hide my clutter behind a closet door, under a bed, in a drawer, or stack it on a shelf in a tote… I continued to function day after day ignoring the clutter I could see, not realizing there was so much more under the surface…
It wouldn’t be until years later (after several miscarriages) that the clutter I’d hidden for so long… all the hidden clutter from years of damaging beliefs, negative thoughts, and painful emotions would surface with such great force, there would be nothing I could do to ignore it… and it would almost destroy me.
As I struggled to ignore the clutter from within the deepest parts of my mind, heart, and soul, the cracks from my broken heart began to show through my responses… and let’s just say, my true colors WEREN’T beautiful like a rainbow! I was breaking and spilling out into every area of my life as the pain, hurt, anger, doubt, confusion, and frustration continued… and it became obvious that I could no longer ignore what had been buried so deeply.
But what do you do when life has hit you so hard, the air has been taken out of your lungs, and hope has left your heart?… when you just want the pain to stop, and move on to the next part of your journey but… for whatever reason, God seems to keep you right where you are?
It’s not our natural tendency to want any kind of pain. We don’t like to be uncomfortable. We hate it when things don’t go our way. We steer clear of the broken road. And, we despise waiting. Patience may be a virtue to someone else… but to us?… No thanks. I’ll take “instant gratification” with a side of “bippity-boppity-boo” if you please… NOW… right? However, when it comes to your clutter, the Fairy Godmother ain’t comin’ to get ya outta your mess. #truth
JUST A LITTLE PATIENCE…
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. That means, delays (traffic jams, waiting rooms, and check-out lines)… troubles (bad news, negative results, failed attempts, and exposed secrets)… and suffering (physical pain, internal pain, and no hope) WITHOUT getting angry or upset… IS patience. It’s only acquired through trials and struggles… delays and suffering… and tests and challenges.
You can’t get patience any other way than through delays, troubles, or suffering because you’re not required to have it at any other time. You don’t need patience when things are going well. Patience isn’t necessary when there’s enough money to pay the bills or when the pregnancy test is positive.
You don’t need patience when everything is going according to YOUR plans… BUT when things aren’t going well, your capacity to accept or tolerate anything is really tested. Your responses reveal what’s concealed inside… bubbling over… hidden under… kept aside… and buried deep in the most secret places of your heart, mind, and soul. When your clutter is at its greatest… the pressure is the heaviest… the test the hardest… the distance the furthest… the lies are the loudest… the pain is the strongest… and the answer is most hopeless… THAT’S WHEN you’re given the opportunity to move one step closer into the person God created you to be.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4
Patience isn’t a magic super power that we get by way of a wand, but instead it’s a response that we choose that reveals our true colors and faith. The opportunity to grow in patience WILL present itself in your life… and only YOU can decide how you’ll respond. Will you accept the suffering? Will you tolerate the delay? Will you consider it a gift when the trouble walks into your life?
God will speak through the delays, trouble, and suffering in your life IF you are willing to accept what you disagree with… tolerate what you don’t like… and be thankful despite the difficult, painful, scary, stressful, uncertain, and overwhelming situations you find yourself in, and wait for the rainbow with anticipation, knowing He makes all things work for your good.
What haven’t you had the capacity to accept or tolerate in your life? What “true colors” have you been showing in your marriage, with your children, at work, with your friends, or even alone? How are you responding to the delays, troubles, and suffering in your life currently?
This week, every time you’re faced with delays, trouble, or suffering… do the right thing. Decide today (before you’re upset) what that means for you. It may be counting to ten (or 100, depending on the situation), deciding to smile and NOT speak (until you have something nice to say), pray (asking God for wisdom in how to respond), simply saying, “I need a minute to think about that…” (before saying something you’ll regret later). What do you need to do to remove your emotions from the situation you’re in? Buy a book or do a study on waiting to help your heart, mind, and soul and make time every day to sit in a quiet space and work through it.
When things are at their worst, I want to be found at my best. Help me to continue to remove the clutter from my life so my responses will show true faith in You.
Remind me through the delays, troubles, and suffering in my life, that I am being given an opportunity to grow so I will lack nothing. Thank You for all the times You’ve been patient with me, and help me to feel Your love when I feel myself being anything but loving toward another.
Help me to wait on You for the answers I seek. I can’t do this on my own. Let me feel Your presence when I feel alone, because I know it’s only through Your strength that I can remove the clutter from my life. I’m willing to accept Your timing… and trust You even when I don’t understand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
YOUR NEXT STEP… When You’ve Been Here… More Than Once