Updated: May 9, 2020
For some time now, I’ve been standing in my own way. If you keep up with my blog or know me in person, then you are witness to the infrequency which is my writing. It’s not because life is happening or I’m way too busy. I know how to organize, balance multiple things, and the like. But I don’t know how to let myself be a beginner, or worse, I don’t know how to let myself be bad at something and then have the patience to work at getting better. Am I a bad writer? Who knows? But I do know that I’m not a perfect writer. And therefore I constantly disqualify myself from the art of putting ink to paper (or typing on a keyboard). Even now as I type, thoughts of just counting myself out are flooding my mind. I have no patience for myself having a process.
The whole process is quite frustrating. However, the other day while I was reading the Bible, I was led to 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. This is a letter written by the Apostle Paul that I must admit I don’t spend much time studying. However, I am very familiar with verses 16 through 18 (rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks…). On this day, I found myself stuck on verse 14:
“…We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
At first glance, I thought to myself “Well Holy Spirit, I feel I do this pretty well with those around me, but if I’m lacking please help me.” Then I read it another time, and then another time, and then another. Finally I heard the Holy Spirit ask me “How well do you apply this to yourself?” Ouch!
I’m great at admonishing myself. I know when I’m acting out, so I check myself before I wreck myself. But giving myself encouragement; helping myself or even seeking help when I feel weak; being patient with myself?! I tend to forget to extend any of that towards myself.
Having Patience with Myself
The toughest out of all of these is Patience. I know what I want my writing and blog to eventually look like. I know what I want my life overall to look like. And as you can guess from your own personal experience I’m sure, it does not match with my reality today. So I get frustrated easily with myself and lose hope it may ever happen.
I think of how I’m not “there” yet and I judge my current abilities and situation by the vision of what I want. That’s very cruel! How dare I force myself to be something instantly when in my right mind I know that it will take time! And the time that it’ll take for me to “arrive” is not wasted, but is necessary to be who I’d like to become.
So what does this look like for me?
Setting small, tangible short term (mostly daily) goals for myself. This means taking my life one day at a time. I will not become the next best selling author and super wife over night, but I can make small advancements day by day. Sometimes the win is as simple as I wrote something down today.
Refusing to meditate on negative thinking! When I catch myself in a pity party or self abasement, I have to quickly decide to change my thoughts. Not just “think happy thoughts” but replace those self bashing thoughts with the word of God. Even if I think I’m horrible and will never make it, God spoke me into this world and has a specific plan for my life that will bring Him glory. I choose to focus on that than whatever nonsense I come up with.
Reminding myself that this is a JOURNEY! No matter what stage of life I’m in, the work is done and character is built during the journey. I am not late or a slow bloomer, I am right on schedule. The Bible is filled with people who on the outside look like they were “too late” for what they were asking for or called to do. But God saw fit to perform His will at the times He saw fit. As the Creator of time, I would assume He gets to have the final say on the “when” of our lives.
You may have other ways that help you to remain patient with yourself. What are they? Do they work? If not, maybe try something new. Whatever you do, be patient with everyone, including yourself.
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” – Francis de Sales
Patience cannot depend on a clock.