The Patience Game
In Supermom School, we discuss helpful ways to find support while we are waiting it out. If you have ever had to wait something out you will understand the need to create a strategy around being patient. If you’ve played a board game, sometimes you have to wait for a series of moves to be able to take the action you want. When you are playing the board game, you create a strategy or plan of a tack to try and win the game and use your moves wisely. So today we are going to discuss the importance of asking for help and the need to do it.
I want to begin by saying there is an ebb and a flow to patience. There is a process that happens, just like if you are playing the board game SORRY! You pick up a card first and determine what the number is to see where you can move on the board. The card you pick up helps to determine what moves you can make. Other more complicated games will have a series of things that happen for every turn. For instance, our family plays this game called Dominion. In each turn you take, there is a series of things you do. First, you take new cards, second, you play actions, third, you spend your money and fourth, you clear off the cards you just played. So there is a pattern that happens every single time. As I was thinking about different games we play and the sequence of events that take place for every turn, I realized there was a correlation between games that we play (board games, card games, sports. etc) and also the process of having patience.
Patience is a fruit of the spirit and we can cultivate that gift He gives us, however noticing that there is a pattern to it can help you to have patience more consistently.
I got this pattern from Phillipians 4 4-9:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I know this is a fairly common passage of scripture and if you have been a Christian for a while you might be pretty familiar with it. However, as I was reading this recently I noticed there was a sequence to these things.
The first thing it says to do is rejoice,
the second thing it says to do is be reasonable,
the third thing it says to do is to make a request,
the fourth thing is to have thanksgiving,
the fifth thing to do is to have peace, and
the last thing to do is to practice.
This is a great process or pattern for every time we are going through a waiting period. Sometimes I think it can feel like a roller coaster. If you tend to be more of a flat line emotionally this may not resonate with you, but for those of us that are up and down in our faith and get frustrated between being content and being unhappy with our circumstances this pattern in scripture gives me peace. All of the emotions I feel are recognized in that pattern. I can repeat this process over and over again and still remain trusting the Lord, having patience, and believing what He can do.
Let’s look at each one and see how it can show up in our lives. The reason I call this the patience game is that the chapter is talking about is worry and how to defeat it. When we wonder how the situation is going to come together, we have to have patience. This pattern can be the strategy that you use to combat that emotional rollercoaster. We are building off of the foundation we laid where we discussed trusting God and why we trust Him. If you didn’t read that article, I encourage you to go and read it to understand more what I am talking about.
The first thing is to rejoice. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Rejoice is a biblical word that I’ve heard so many times that it loses its meaning. I like to use the word celebrate because when we say that word we have an idea of what that looks like. Rejoicing in my head sounds like singing in a choir or singing in worship. Celebrate sounds to me like shouting at a sports event or clapping and whistling at someone’s birthday party or someone having a new baby, things like that. Celebrate comes up in my mind because I have natural ways in my mind about what that looks like. We need to think about what can we be celebrating in life.
The second thing is to be reasonable. 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5 I think it is interesting that these two are next to each other and in this order. We are going to celebrate, but not be crazy. Celebration and extreme fear have very similar responses. We might scream and throw up our hands for both emotions, but they come from very different places. I love the fact that the very next thing is to be reasonable. Celebrate yes, but don’t go crazy. Our calmness is the testimony that we give to others. We are being reasonable and calm because our hope is not in the actions of others but in Jesus the Son of the living God.
The third thing it says to do is to make requests. Requests and thanksgiving go together. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 This is encouraging to me because I find myself in a house with a shower that doesn’t work. The idea that the shower doesn’t work is really frustrating. I really love this thought of making a request with thanksgiving. We have 3.5 bathrooms in this house. There are a total of 3 showers and then a half bath. The reality is that there are 2 other showers that we can use. Most of the time we can get all of our showers in a timely manner. When I make a request to God to fix the shower, I also praise Him for the 2 other showers we have because there is no lack of the ability to wash our bodies. I long for this shower to be repaired. I want to be a good steward of the resources He has given us. Isn’t it so comforting that it is okay to ask for something, while at the same time praising God for the things we do have? Those two things really go together; make requests with thanksgiving.
The fourth thing is to feel the peace; he promises it to us, we just have to find it. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. It doesn’t say that it might guard it, or that we hope it does, or that there is a 50/50 chance… It says the peace of God WILL guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. When the scripture gives us a promise like that I believe it is my job to search it out. Not if it is or if it might be true, but to believe that it is true and find that peace. Our job becomes to feel the peace and to partake in it. This involves a lot of surrenders.
I’ve felt this way before when God has commanded us to tithe when our finances are tight. When I say tithes I mean a full 10%. I know there is a lot of teaching out there that says since we are under a new covenant that we don’t have to tithe. I won’t argue with you about it, but what I will say is that when we are not tithing I cannot figure out how to pay my bills. When we are tithing the full 10%, the Lord provides our needs and the peace of the Lord guards our hearts and minds because I have a clear conscience before God.
You cannot out-give God. The word says “give and it shall be given unto you”. The God of all the universe is asking for 10% and He has offered to provide for all of our needs, why would we have a problem giving Him back 10%? In those moments I find the peace of God. I can give Him 10%, He will provide for my needs and give Him 10% with a cheerful heart. The tithing is not necessarily part of the patience game, it is just an example of how I trust him practically and feel His peace.
Paul then says to think about good things. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 I use this verse as a test for when I feel anxious or fearful. I go back to this verse and ask what am I allowing my mind to dwell on? Is it social media anxiety or is it the panic of the news or the worst scenario stories of the news? Am I spending the majority of my time focusing on what is noble, pure, lovely, commendable?
One time I asked myself, “Why don’t I think about the good things? Why do I just default to the negative?” There are a couple of reasons. First, we get into the habit of thinking worst-case scenarios because it is the easiest to absorb from the world around us. With this habit implanted, we have to work a little harder initially to get a regular stream of things in our lives that feel like they are going well.
Having a group to share wins with is incredibly valuable. If you don’t have that I encourage you to find or start a group that discusses the wins and great things God is doing in your lives. We do this every week in Supermom School so it becomes a regular habit and upgrades our mindset. We need to saturate our minds in the ways that God has met us and blessed us. He commands us to think about these things and the habit of thinking about these things helps us to notice them more often.
The last thing is to practice what you know. You’ve learned it and now you have to practice. My kids are required to share the gospel with a few people before they go on their mission trip. Even if they don’t go, it’s a good thing.
But, they are nervous about sharing. Why are they nervous about sharing? Well because they haven’t done it.
- They know Jesus and know why they were saved.
- They know that Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross to atone for our sins.
- They know that anyone that believes in Him and chooses Him as Lord of their life can be saved.
He proved that He was capable of saving us from our sins when he rose from the dead. That established His power and ability to do what He said He could do.
Salvation is available for anyone who chooses Jesus and chooses to follow Him wholeheartedly.
They need to share the story in their own words and how God connected their needs and saved them, but it’s nerve-wracking to share.
There are lots of worries that come with sharing the gospel with someone.
- What if I stumble over my words?
- What if I say things wrong?
- What if I say the same thing twice?
- What if they reject what I am saying?
Nobody likes being a beginner in situations like this. But the word says to practice these things. I do a lot with podcasting, Facebook videos, speaking on stage but I remember the first time I posted a Facebook video online. I was terrified and I have been speaking in front of people since I was 12 or 13. I’ve been doing this my whole life, but the day I put a recorded video out there I was nervous. I re-recorded it 8 or 9 times. It felt weird and uncomfortable. The only way to get more comfortable is to practice. It is important to repeat the pattern: rejoice, be reasonable, make requests with thanksgiving, feel the peace, think good things.
The more you repeat the pattern, the better you will be at it. It is this repeatable pattern that helps win the game of waiting for the Lord. There are times when we have to wait and be patient. God’s people have had to wait for Him many times. There are those that have waited well and those that have not. Hezekiah made a request of the Lord. He found out that He was sick and was waiting for the Lord. God healed him and gave Hezekiah 15 more years. Moses had to wait because of Israel doubting. If they had kept the pattern I think they would have had a better testimony of how to wait well. I want to encourage you and let you know it is okay to make requests of God. He already knows what you need, but He wants to be asked.
Another aspect of this is that if the God of the universe knows what you need and wants to be asked, how much more should we be making requests of the people in our life even if we think they should know already. Have you ever said those words “ I shouldn’t have to ask.” Do you say them to God? Because of all the beings in the world, God knows the most and He still wants us to ask. So if there is an indication of yes we should have to ask the Lord, then how much more should we have to ask things of the others in our lives. Get really clear on what you need and then make a request with thanksgiving, and not with passive-aggressive intentions. I encourage you to make requests of others just as much as God wants you to make requests of Him with thanksgiving.
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