Cultivating A Patient Heart
A devotional by Jessica Brodie
I used to be so impatient. Everything had to be right now, just this second, or I was tapping my foot or huffing out a sigh so scathing that my dissatisfaction would not go unnoticed.
Every moment had to be occupied. I couldn’t stand in line at the grocery store without reading the magazines, couldn’t eat my morning cereal without inhaling a book, couldn’t drive my car a block without cranking up the radio.
Silence was the epitome of boredom. Now! Rush! Hurry! Busy! Go!
Until one day, the chaos erupted and I’d had enough. Life felt like a series of overwhelming emotional volcanoes that spewed lava in the form of distraction and empty noise. Decades spent filling the quiet had left me raw, like a fresh wound without a bandage.
It had to stop.
Instead of picking up my phone in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, I began to close my eyes and listen to the others patients quietly talking.
Instead of blasting music when I drove, I’d flip the switch to “off,” crack the windows, and bask in the hum of the wind.
Instead of running on the treadmill with my audiobook, I began to jog through my neighborhood listening to the birds and the squirrels.
Instead of filling my days with noise, I began to seek the silence, to crave the silence and ultimately, to love the silence.
And in doing so, my impatient heart began to transform, grow and blossom. A feeling of contentment and joy started to seep in where restlessness had lurked. Silence, and my growing rest within that silence, became the water that allowed patience to grow.
Soon, I noticed other changes. Before, I’d snap at my three-year-old for her tantrums. But thanks to patience, I’d stop, breathe, hug her, and take her hands. “Let’s try again,” I’d say and be surprised at how relaxed I felt.
Instead of firing back at a nasty letter to my newspaper, I’d shake my head, close my eyes, and ask God to give me the words to reply.
In the apostle Paul’s letter to the early Christians in Corinth, he tells us we have nothing if we don’t have love. But what is love?
Paul tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a CEB)
God is love. And if we are following Christ, we know we are to try our best to be as much like Him as possible. That means letting go of selfish, prideful, evil ways and letting love prevail.
If love is kindness, that means being kind. If love is trusting and hopeful, we are to do the same.
And if love is patient, we have no business tapping our feet, huffing our breath, and filling our time with diversions.
We are to bask in the love and beauty that is God and let His love—His patience, His kindness—flow through us. Always.
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden.
She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team.
Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.