Many times in my life I’ve had to learn to wait—times where my patience was tested. Waiting for the school bus on a rainy day, stuck in the express line at the grocery store behind someone who had 30 items instead of 20, anticipating my first driver’s license, or squelching the excitement to open Christmas presents.
Those are actually easy examples. The true test of patience lies in those persevering, character-building moments: searching for a job after being laid off, praying and watching for your prodigal son or daughter to return home, or trusting God to move in the life of a loved one. Such times teach us valuable lessons about life, ourselves, and the faithfulness of God.
My biggest lesson in patience occurred when I was teaching full-time while starting and running a nonprofit ministry. I would teach all day and then complete tasks for the ministry from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am. This continued for three years. Even though I loved teaching, I realized God was calling me to a different season. My schedule began to take a toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This girl was looking old and putting on weight from the stress. I begged and pleaded for God to provide the donations that would allow me to switch to full-time ministry.
I had to change my attitude. Every day instead of thinking of it as a setback, I clung to the sentiments of Colossians 1:11: being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience. I only survived that season because of the grace and power of God. He provided the endurance, the stamina, and strength.
What challenges are you encountering? In what areas do you need to endure with patience? Let me share a few “patience pointers” with you:
- Don’t ever pray for patience. You will be tested in many ways. Instead, pray that you will endure well through your trials.
- Ask God to reveal lessons to be learned during the difficult season.
- Focus on the finish line and not the pain in the race. This will pass.
Each day I strapped on God’s strength and asked for enduring persistence and fortitude. I learned a lot in my school of patience.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/