In small group last night the topic of patience was discussed. It was my first night to attend this group and I wondered, when the questions we're asked if I should keep my mouth shut or should I say what was in my heart. I did a little of both because honestly, I didn't know how to say what I was feeling. I'm one of those people who requires a little more thinking time than your average person..maybe that's from too many drugs but who knows.
Patience never was my area of expertise because it requires waiting and at that, I am no good. I want things now...marriage, babies, success, health, inspiration, muscles(this could go on forever.) Christmas at my house growing up is an awesome example of my extreme impatience. My mom would buy my christmas presents and then hide them. When she left I would be in search of those mystery gifts and if I found them I could be at peace, but if not...the search would continue until my gifts made their way wrapped and under the tree. Finding out what my gifts were once they were wrapped was a much more difficult task, it required a very good memory and a very sharp knife. I would look at the tape before I sliced it and then carefully peel back the paper, peek at the box and then carefully retape the package as though I'd never touched it. After about 4 years of getting really good at this my mom started not sticking the gifts in their original boxes. I'm not really sure why I always did this or felt like I didn't want anything to be a surprise but I have a feeling it had something to do with always needing to be in control.
I have always thought, from a very young age, that being in control was a good thing. I thought it meant that you were strong willed and determined. People who were in control were successful and wealthy. In control people lacked nothing and didn't have to have patience because if they wanted something, they got it.. No matter what.
i think this relates so well with my desire to control food. I have always been so impatient with my weight. If I started to gain weight then I would immediately restrict food or binge and purge. I knew in my head that neither was a good choice and it was absolutely sinful. I was looking at my eating disorder as if it were my God, expecting fulfillment and satisfaction and neither one could it bring. Instead I was filled with shame and brokenness year after year. I could not be patient or content with my body but instead thought I needed instant gratification. I needed control, I needed my fix.
I started my Jesus Journey in the desert of Arizona at 21, 45 days of being under someone else's authority really had a way of opening my eyes. I was angry at first of course, like any addict would be, but once I realized that I'm really not good at playing God (I Mean come on.. It landed me in rehab- read Galatians 5:19-21, I was that person) and maybe I should just submit to authority. I was always a runner though, from hurt, from guilt, from the cops, from relationships, and from love. I learned there that Jesus loved me so much he died for me. I learned that I was never abandoned and he was always perusing me. He never once forget me or gave up on me like I so many other people in my life, I just couldn't always see him working because I didn't know him. My love for The Lord has grown over the past 5 years and the fruits of the spirit have also grown because of it. galatians 5:22 lists them: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control."
I am able to love now way better than before because I know that ultimate love comes from him. Christ died on a cross for me, that's real love. I have experienced real joy for the first time in a whole lot of years. This past year jesus has broke every chain of addiction I have struggled with my life life-- It has really opened my eyes at how much he can do and how much I can't. "Apart from him I can do nothing." -John 15:5. With Him I have learned what peace is. I have found myself looking in the mirror recently thinking "man, I have really let myself go.." And then immediately begin bashing my body and all of my flaws that are far from my idea of perfect. Today I stepped back and thought, yes..I am letting my self go. This is not a bad thing though, but I do give up. I give up on perfect and my unhealthy goal weight. I give up on controlling everything, I give up on running... I'm tired. I'm letting you take control Jesus, right now, right where I am because I'm done. I suck at being you and I'm not supposed to try. You will carry me, you will sustain me because I am yours and you are mine. I can have a peace in that, a peace in knowing that I don't have to be super skinny with movie star success for my future husband to like me. I am a masterpiece right now...I have it tattooed on me, sheesh, I should know by now. My future husband will think I'm beautiful just as I am and will bring out the best in me.
I have had to have a lot of patience and stillness this past year as my body transitioned out of starvation mode and into healthy, real life eating mode. It makes me see that God has had so much patience with me over the years and for that I am real thankful. My Jesus journey has allowed me to meet some of the most kind, gentle, and faithful people I have ever crossed ways with...I could see it in their eyes and hear it in their words. I want to be like that someday. Self control is a fruit that I wrestle with daily..obviously. It's the most difficult for me because there is a super fine line when it comes to having self control and idolatry in the area of food. Some days I go too far and that's when I have to step back and talk to him and apologize. I have to ask him to be the king of my body once again and this may happen more than once a day. The struggle is real y'all and it sucks, it's not an easy task to reverse 20 years of negative thoughts and words spoken to me but I'm getting better. I'm glad my God is slow to anger because at the rate my life has gone, my butt would be cherry red and blistered by now with belt marks embedded in it.
Proverbs 19:11 says: "a man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." When I look back on my 26 years of life I can see that now I am more patient than I have ever been because I have seen a lot of life, I have made a lot of mistakes and I have learned a lot from being dumb. I can also see though, that God was there, even in the bad...he knew my path before I did. Are there areas of your life that you've been super impatient about? He isn't holding out on you, I promise. You just have to know that God has a far better plan that you can even imagine. The bible says "Delight yourself in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Not on your time but on his...it requires a little bit of patience on our parts.
I hope that you are encouraged that his plan for you is good and he is in the middle of your life right now, even if it's hard to see. He just might be up to something real big and can't wait to let you in on the big surprise..
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through the spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray you, bring rooted and established in love, may have power, together with the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of a god." -Ephesians 3:16-19