Everything you could possibly want is almost instant these days. You wanna know what restaurants are good in town? Google it. You wanna talk to someone who lives halfway around the world? Facebook message them. You wanna know who shot Alexander Hamilton? Again, google it. It was Aaron Burr, in case you wanted to know. We live in a culture of instant gratification, which in turn makes patience an incredibly rare quality. Be honest, when you take a test, you want to know instantly how you did. And how dare the teacher not post the results on blackboard when you want them?! When things take longer than 30 seconds these days, we grow impatient and in turn, hostile. I know this firsthand, and have been dealing with my impatient heart for as long as I can remember.
This week, I launched my online shop. There were several difficulties that I didn’t expect to come up, and what I wanted to have done by Thursday ended up being done Saturday. I underestimated all that goes into it. It was a little overwhelming, but it felt great to finally have it done. But I couldn’t even enjoy it because of my impatient heart. We’re always wanting to move on to the next step immediately in life, and when my shop was open for five minutes and I had no orders, I was irrationally angry. I’m laughing at myself over it because instead of relaxing in the grace of God for a few days, I just kept clicking refresh on my order page hoping that I could be done fundraising by Friday (not really, that’s crazy) and not have to wait for anything until I get on the plane in may.
The thing is, impatience cannot exist without selfishness. All things that we wait for are usually to our own benefit in some way, and regardless of what we’re waiting on, it’s always coming from a place of selfishness. It’s not just surface selfishness either. Because while sometimes you could be impatient about waiting for a test score, you can also be impatient waiting for something like knowledge of God’s plan for others in your life when things are uncertain. Impatience, as I’ve experienced, results when we stop trusting God’s plan and provision. When we trust God, we don’t mind waiting. It’s when we start thinking that a silly little earthly concept like time is running out, and God is running out of time. I can assure you, God is never running out of time because it is all HIS time. Nothing, not even time, belongs to us.
During my senior year of high school, I was all bright-eyed and ready to go to college, but I hadn’t yet found a roommate. It was about February or March, so it wasn’t like it was impossible, but I was freaking out and I was mad at God for not providing a roommate. Every day I checked the roommate profiler, my email, everything, until eventually I was so defeated that I barely did. One day, after I was so annoyed with things not going my way, I ended up emailing a girl named Bailey from Bentonville who had just decided that week that she was choosing the University of Arkansas over Alabama (truly a miracle). She described herself as, “I babysit a lot, I knit a lot, and I love to sleep.” It might as well have been written by me. God made me wait to get a roommate because the perfect one was coming. 2 years later, she’s my best friend. I think about that a lot when I’m not trusting God’s timing, and Bailey’s friendship is a constant reminder of how God provides the best in his good time. If I had ignored his timing and roomed with some random girl, I would’ve missed out on knowing one of my best friends. It was then that I developed a mantra of sorts: God’s timing is not my timing.
I mean, just imagine we ignored God’s timing because we think ours is better. First of all, if we think our timing is better, we are seriously mistaken. Second of all, it’s so beautiful to look back on things that took time and know that even if it felt like it for a minute there, God did not ever leave. He doesn’t hold off on things because he’s too busy for us, or because he doesn’t know what to do, or because he just doesn’t want to. He knows what we need before we do, and he knows when it needs to be done far better than we do. If you treat God like some sort of safety net genie who just works his magic right when you think you need, you’re not really serving God. You are serving yourself and your idea of how God should work, and that’s not a relationship, it’s a selfish ideal that God made this world to revolve around us.
The picture I attached as the face of this post makes me laugh, but also really convicts me. Because how many times a day do we have to discover that the world does not revolve around us? Like when I’m driving, for example, I always get mad at slow drivers, because don’t they know that I have somewhere to be? Don’t they know that it’s an inconvenience to me that they are in front of me? Never do I think that maybe they have a baby in the car. Maybe they’re following a map and they don’t know where they’re going. Or maybe they just drive slow because they want to. I get frustrated and upset when I have to attend things that are just so inconvenient and get in the way of the time I could be using to lay in my bed and watch The Office. Just two days ago, I was so mad that I had a Physics & Human Affairs test because I’m an English major and it’s not fair that this class could ruin my GPA because I’m not good at science. So many times I have to remind myself of, “just found out the world doesn’t revolve around me. Shocked & upset” due to how ridiculous it sounds, yet how easy it is to actually think like that.
My impatience and selfishness are always getting in the way of the childlike faith that I strive to have. It’s something I don’t even notice half the time. And I can blame Facebook, google, wikipedia, etc. for my horrible impatience, but really it’s a heart issue that only God can fix. So pray for me this week as I work on my gnawing impatience, and pray for me to trust God that his time is better than mine, as is his provision. I hope this can serve as an encouragement to you as well, to remember how important it is to be patient and wait with a full and trusting heart, regardless of what it is you’re waiting for and regardless of how little time you think you have. God’s got all the time in the world in his hands. God’s timing is not our timing. And it’s a good thing it’s not.
If you’re interested in buying greeting cards, paintings, or t-shirts from me to help support my trip, visit my online shop and spread the word! I take requests for paintings and cards, and the options uploaded aren’t the only things I’m selling. I’ll be updating with more available products as I paint them!
“wait for the lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”