23 Mar The Toxicity of Impatience
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.
2 Samuel 5:4 (NIV)
One of the fruits of the Spirit is patience (Galatians 5:22-23). One of the things I am not very good at is being patient. I typically want things right away. I am not the greatest at saving money (although I am much better than before). I have a low tolerance for waiting on people – whether it be regarding a task, response or a ride. I can get snappy when my kids are getting on my nerves, or be terse when someone rubs me the wrong way. I am terribly impatient.
I believe we all get impatient with many things in our lives. Some of us have a higher tolerance than others. I want to talk about when impatience becomes toxic. I’m talking about the promises that were spoken over your life 5 years ago, and you’re still waiting for it to happen kind of impatience.
Have you been there? Have you been in that moment where someone prays over you and declares a word from the Lord? You get excited because your moment is here! This is where God takes you from glory to glory. This is where you’re about to take ministry by storm. This is where you’re about to get out of debt! This is where you’re about to buy that house! Whatever it was that was spoken over your life, you come out of there floating on clouds. Nothing can pull you down, right? Except time…time will pull you down.
I joke that when I began asking God for patience, He sent me my energetic son. I’ll tell you that it’s working. I always pray for patience. It’s one of the top things on my list. I have been there where someone will prophesy over me, and I will become excited by the word over my life, to then become discouraged by the amount of time it takes for that word to come to pass. And then I am reminded of David. He was a youth when he was anointed and did not become king over Israel until he was 30. I am reminded of the preparation he endured to be ready when the time came. David was no perfect man by any means. I believe he had his impatient moments, but it seems that David was a man who knew how to wait. He was a man who knew how to trust God. God’s timing was everything to him.
I recently heard a podcast of a well-known comedian who said it took him 18 years for people to finally notice him. He was finally making money and touring. And he did something that I will begin doing: he started to thank God for his failures. He said that these failures allowed him to mature and learn as he progressed through his career. He also mentioned comedians that failed along the way because they became too famous too quickly.
Imagine if Samuel called David forward as a kid, anointed him and sent him on his way to be the next king. I don’t think he would have lasted. It took years of battles and preparation before God for him to be ready.
I am learning to wait. I am learning that when I try to take matters into my own hands, I can damage the process. If I try to move things at my pace, all I will do is create situations that will contradict my faith in God. I will create a skewed perspective of God’s promise over my life. We think we are ready, but many times we are far from it. This is where impatience becomes toxic.
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
It’s difficult to wait. I am in that season of waiting in many areas of my life. God is much better at mapping out my life, so I will let Him be in control. I know the best thing I can do is pray, watch, learn, rest, serve and be present when needed. There is a great purpose in waiting. It’s a time of preparation and soaking. In David’s time of waiting, he had to serve his brothers, take care of sheep, fight lions, bears, armies and giants, all while having spears thrown at him. You want to be ready for what God has for you? Serve, bless others, fight the good fight and endure. Chase after God’s heart and be a blessings to others. Lay low and prepare. Do not allow your impatience to take over. You can do this!