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Good things come to those who wait – The lost art of patience

December 1, 2014

 Patience1

We live in an age of instant access and gratification. But as we now enter the season of Advent, could the lost art of waiting, being still, being patient, be a thing of wonder that we need to rediscover?

I want it all and I want it now

Last Friday we witnessed scenes of chaos in our stores and on our screens as ‘#BlackFriday unfolded. The pursuit of a consumer bargain literally driving people into the wall as if nothing else mattered. It was deeply shocking and deeply saddening to see it. It also raised big questions about the lengths we go to in pursuing the consumer dream and what our underlying values are as a society. Patience was definitely not the name of this game, and as for waiting, no chance. After the fast paced frenzy of Friday I am glad that we have #GivingTuesday and Advent to help us slow down, reflect and divert our attention a little in a different direction.

A fruit of the Spirit

Patience can be a virtue and is also a flavour or outworked demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) but it seems in the age in which we live, where we both expect and crave for the instant, that patience is something that we often do not like the taste of.

Waiting in this season of Advent is something that we are now seldom used to, but just like the concept of the Biblical Sabbath, waiting, stopping, being patient and not having instant results is something that I think we now arguably need to relearn the art of.

Prepared to be patient – The Lesson of Wimbledon

Andy Murray highlighted the art of patience and working hard for something in the way he persisted in pursuing his Dream of winning Wimbledon in 2013. Years of heartache and set back came to fruition last Summer. And throughout the Wimbledon fortnight fans were very happy to queue up for many hours, even overnight just to get a ticket to enter the grounds. As well as all of us watching at home, being patient. The experience, the conversations in the queue, the journey to getting into the grounds, in a small way is just like Andy Murray’s journey, and are all worth it. It seems that when we really do want something or for something really good to happen we are more than prepared to work and wait for it!

Driven by the clock

I realised just how ‘driven’ by time and the clock I was on my first visit to Africa. I was convinced that I was not that task-driven, but how wrong I was. Local people would see it as a great thing if they were late for work or a meeting, because it meant on the way they met with people, stopped to talk and give each other time. Living in London I just know that I so rarely see or practice this, it’s just not the done thing.

Is impatience ever good?

There is a part of me that thinks at times, being impatient can be a good thing. If there is an injustice it seems valid and vital to become impatient about it; not to act would seem inhuman and unjust. At times we need that urgency, that impatience, that stirring, that propels us in a good way to action.

Patience and growth

However, when it comes to spirituality, relationships and much of the important things of life, patience is needed. We do, just like Andy Murray, need to take time to cultivate ways of being, to be patient to learn, grow and develop. Just like the art of growing fruit, we need to care for the plant, giving it time and attention to reap the benefits. This is also the case with discipleship and patience. It’s a hard road at times, but we need to keep going, keep acting, keep cultivating in order to see the fruit.

Patience then really is a virtue and can lead to some great things. May we be patient and expectant this Advent season. 

If you need a good resource to help you in this quest then do check out last week’s article by Lydia where there are loads of great links to Advent Journeys and resources.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 1, 2014 5:01 pm

    Reblogged this on matt's musings and commented:
    My latest post for The Breathe Network

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