Elul 15 Love is patient---Beware what you pray for! (The world defines love in a lot of different ways...Our culture even has Hallmark greeting cards to thank for helping shape the norms of how we celebrate our love through cards and holidays...but God has a very different view of love...less romantic and more a matter of choice and commitment. So we are going to spend some time over the next few days examining our hearts and seeing where we miss the mark of God’s loving standards.) Need more patience? Beware what you pray for! We innocently pray for more patience (an attribute of the Fruit of the Spirit) and isn’t it just like God in His unique graciousness to send people our way that say things that get on our nerves and test our boundaries??! We want to treat others like Jesus did but secretly, maybe even unknowingly, we are hoping Jesus will send like minded, compatible people our way!! It is not the type of people that come our way that cause us to become impatient, it is our view of them--our heart attitude--that brings out the irritation. We must ask the Holy Spirit to see them through God’s eyes. The pat answer is to see Jesus in them or remember they are made in God’s image. That helps me to shift my perspective a bit but certainly does not change my heart significantly. I find I need to really ask the Holy Spirit to examine MY heart to see why their behavior grates on my nerves. I usually find pride at the core. This opens an opportunity to confess and repent. My pride is continually on trial in the courts of heaven...probably will be until the day I die...I can usually trace my unrest to feelings of superiority or inferiority. My pride often sees differences as bad. How is pride affecting your relationships? Do you adopt a superior or inferior attitude most often? Do you embrace different as good and learn from others or try to control them to be more like you? The second scenario I see is that the very behavior that irritates me is one I also struggle with. When people are pushy and demanding and seem to lack healthy boundaries I find that my own lack of healthy boundaries to stand up to them is the reason I find their behavior toxic. Sometimes their behavior reminds me of someone in my past that I haven’t forgiven for a negative encounter and I can confess and repent of that unforgiveness and reexamine the incident to learn and grow from it. So instead of pointing the finger at them, I can use this insight as an opportunity to work on assertive boundaries myself. When you see other’s weaknesses can you stop and reflect on the issues within you that it may be touching? Can you see how patient God is with you in your weaknesses? Can you adopt an attitude of mercy? Impatience can also be linked to timing. We want something or pray for something and when it doesn’t fit our timing schedule we get restless. When someone moves slower than we would, we get restless. It comes down to what we want and when we want it. I think God in His infinite wisdom (and His ironic sense of humor) allows many of my prayer requests to go right up to or just past man made deadlines to answer them to break me if this insidious and prideful notion that I know the perfect timing. This allows me to see the emotions lurking in the crevices of my heart (bringing them into the light) so I am aware to ask for a heart attitude change. When your timing and God’s timing or other’s timing aren’t perfectly aligned, how do you respond? How can you think differently about that gap? Stay encouraged! Never, never quit working toward integrity and good character...the blessings are huge! The Holy Spirit is here to help you on every weak side!
Follow the season of Teshuvah during this Month of Elul with Guest blogger Denise Dee Lytle Gibbs who originally posted these blogs on her Facebook page Fall Feast Prayer Initiative.