wooden bench in sand

2020 was a long haul, and I feel tremendous relief and gratitude to have made it to this new year. At the same time, I am weary. Weary of living with the restrictions the pandemic imposed on us. Weary of the resulting isolation and anxiety. Weary of seeing footage of violence and hearing angry rhetoric. Weary of the weight of grief and tinge of sadness that flavors so many of my days lately. While I’ve come a long way, I still have a long way to go.

Recently I head a song on the radio that spoke to where I’m at right now:

When my world keeps on shaking, and I’m breaking
When the skies won’t stop raining, and I’m fading
Help me to be okay with what I can’t change
And remind me there’s meaning in the waiting
Help me to be patient
Help me to be patient
(“Patient” by Apollo LTD)

Being patient means bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc. with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like. Synonyms for “patient” include enduring, long-suffering, and tolerant. It sounds that’s exactly what I need to be in my current situation, but how do I do that?

Sometimes my levels of frustration and anxiety rise because my mind obsesses over thoughts like “I don’t want to deal with (blank) right now! It shouldn’t even be happening!” But whether I like it or not, whether I think it should or shouldn’t be happening, I have to accept that (blank) is a part of my reality at the moment if I am going to find peace in the situation. As Eckhart Tolle said: “Accept–then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” Denying, ignoring, or resisting what’s going on in my life doesn’t actually help me to get through it. (And Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.”) But if I honestly acknowledge my situation and reconcile myself to it, I’m in a position to make the best of it, to be my best self in it.

Patience starts with acceptance, but it needs something more if I am going to bear this present season with courageous endurance instead of angry complaints or bitter struggle. I must recognize what is intended to be expressed in the waiting; I must find the significance or value of it. As James 5:7b-8a (VOICE) says: “Look! The farmer knows how to wait patiently for the land to produce vegetables and fruits. He cannot harvest a freshly planted seed. Instead, he waits for the early and late showers to nourish the soil. You need this same kind of patience.” Do I live in the faith that God is always working (John 5:17, NLT), sowing good seeds in every season of my life? If so, then I will remember that I can’t harvest a freshly planted seed and be patient as I watch for the evidence of what God is growing in this season. Am I confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful (Romans 8:28, VOICE)? If so, then I calmly trust that nothing in my life is a waste or irredeemable.

“God,
Help me to be okay with what I can’t change
And remind me there’s meaning in waiting.
Help me to be patient.
Amen.”

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