Monday, November 20, 2006

Patience and Kindness

When we last we encountered Snapshots of Change, Jennifer was addressing the tongue, in an effort to try to tame it. Did it work? "No, no, no! I told you no!"

Okay, um, it didn't work. By "work," I mean that I didn't transform into a beautiful butterfly. It's something that I am always going to have to be mindful of, I think. But choosing to focus on it did help. One thing that I realized was that in order to change what was coming out of my mouth, I really needed to change my heart.

So, I thought of the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
According to these verses, I have crucified my sinful passions (yelling in anger) and desires (selfish motives instead of selfless ones), and that it is my choice to keep in step with the Spirit. I know that it's not as easy as snapping my fingers, but I also know that the battle has already been won. I am all of these things. I have to be led by the Spirit instead of my own sinful desires. Easier said than done.

I skipped to numbers four and five on the list of fruit. That's because for me, love, joy and peace are not struggles right now. I love my children and my husband dearly. In spite of the fact that I love them, I do not always act out with patience and kindness, so I am not showing true love.
I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
Dictionary.com defines patience as, "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like." I'm thinking right now that if I looked up impatient, I might find my picture. Children are slow, they are irritating, and sometimes annoying. I do not bear up well under this (but remember, I do love them).

The definition of kindness is the quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic. The second definition even references being forgiving.

I am taking these together, because I think that my lack of patience is definitely unkind. I'm hoping that seeking after kindness will just crowd impatience out of the way, as I put the needs of others before my own and have compassion for their struggles or distractions.

I will pray daily for patience and for the fruit of kindness to be exemplified through my actions. I am going to also choose to take this command and sweet promise of Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

8 comments:

Susanne said...

Jennifer, I think you are so right when you say "in order to change what was coming out of my mouth, I really needed to change my heart." Very encouraging post, Jennifer.

Heather said...

So, my friend, you had tagged me oh, about 3 yrs ago, to finish sentences with a one word start. I'm in the mood to finish said sentences now, but can't find the blog. Help!

Anonymous said...

These are areas I always need to work on! I'm so thankful that God is willing and able to work on forming them in me.

org junkie said...

I'm working on the same ones! It drives me crazy to see my kids not acting with patience and kindness until I realize they know what they live....gulp. I too am praying daily for patience and for kindness to be exemplified through my actions...preferably sooner rather than later. Laura

julee said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, too. I think I found you through "Seek First His Kingdom" I'm pleased to meet you, because then through you I found Jules at Everydaymommy...oh what a tangled web we weave. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Jennifer said...

Julee--yes, I like thinking about the tangled webs, too--how I found my blogs. Welcome!

Jen Rouse said...

I really appreciate your openness about this. I too struggle with patience so much! Funny, if you would have asked me a year or two ago if I was a patient person, I would have said, "Sure." It took my children to open my eyes to sin in my own life.

angeleyes Blue said...

Feeling a little late to join but what the heck! I ws attracted to your title "Patience and Kindness".

In the back of my mind I was reminded of some quotes a friend sent to me today so I had to go back and look them up...

Kindness in Words Creates Confidence Kindness in Thinking Creates Profoundness Kindness in Giving Creates Love.--Lao Tzu