I am currently reading an amazing book, Glimpses of Grace, in my church’s ladies Bible study. One of the overall premises of the book is to “encourage [woman] to see the reality of God’s grace in all of life, especially those areas that often appear to be boring and unimportant.” (Quote is from the description of the book on sites where you may purchase it from.)
We spend some time each week looking at our lives and sharing how things that could, and usually do, bother us are opportunities for us to see grace. Grace in what God has given us. To extend grace toward others. Thankfulness for all we have been given.
And so it was on Tuesday–right before the book study, mind you–that I found myself waiting in a doctor’s office. Just a few weeks before, I had told someone how [insert my full name] waits for no doctor, but I may have over-exaggerrated. I showed up early (because sometimes you’re blessed enough to be seen before your time). I knew I would be late as it was, but I was so surprised to get an appointment so quickly having only called the day before that I grabbed it.
But 3:30 came and went. Then 3:40. By 3:50, I did go to the receptionist to see where I was in this dreadful process, and I was next.
By 4, I was apologizing to my sweet, patient boy who was waiting alongside me. He enjoys HIS Bible class as much as I enjoy mine and hates to be late.
4:05. I made a pact. If they did not call me by 4:10 we’d leave, as it was better to go for an hour to our classes rather than miss it completely. I made it to 4:08. I knew they would take me to the examination room and I’d probably wait another 1/2 hour for the doctor. (I’ve worked for them. I know.) I knew I could not handle it. Calmly, I walked back up to the reception. Smiled. Stated I needed to be somewhere and could I please get my co-pay back as I would not be staying any longer for the appointment.
Away we went. And made it to our classes by 4:30 as had been my plan all along.
So why am I sharing this story and what does it have to do with a book that I’m reading?
It’s in moments like those that God’s grace in my life is evident to me. How far I have come; how differently I react than the person I used to be.
Old me would have been angry and terse and making SOMEONE feel bad, because how dare do you allow me to wait? My time is super valuable after all, right? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
It’s in moments like that I can finally practice recall.
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~James 1:19-20, ESV
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, ~1 Thessalonians 5:14, ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23, ESV
The words bound on my heart finally see the light of day in my ability to practice what I so often preach to the little human sitting beside me. Because it’s so often easier said and memorized and learned than done.
I’m practicing patience; remembering that not everything has to or will happen the way that I want them to. There is no one sitting in that office out to get me. I can think it’s wrong what the general human population goes through in doctor office waiting rooms, but it doesn’t give me good reason to react in a way that doesn’t glorify God.
He was so patient with me. So patient.
And on the beautiful flip side. I see the additional moments of grace created by sitting in a waiting room:
*I have no choice but to rest. I’m wearing a monitor that counts my steps and I can see by the number that appears on my little screen just how much and how hard I worked that day. Had I gone straight home from work and picking up little man from school, I would have only continued to work; to find something to do. My mind and my hands don’t know rest when it isn’t forced upon me. I got to sit. I got to breathe. There was no task, no errand, for me to do.
*I got to finish the chapters I needed to read for the class I was heading too. The week flies by and the desire to read ahead of the day of class just doesn’t happen. The margin I create on my days “off” fell by the wayside and there I was about to enter the class without being prepared. I read in peace. And it was good for my soul.
*I watched the first few minutes of Dr. Oz. I love that show. And my little man loves to watch it with me. We chatted. I spent time with my littlest guy. And that is always good for my soul.
Above all, I hope I demonstrated to him how to properly react when things don’t happen the way you expect and people, like doctor’s, fail you.
1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss oftemper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: towork with patience.
The ability to exude or feel patience in my now now now mentality is a slow process; one that I must practice; one that must become habit. A habit that I fail at often in my hurried-can’t-be-bothered-life.
But a quality that I see glimpses of grace of every so often.
It will never be fun for others to dictate your time. To let it go when someone cuts you off. To see the person in front of you in the supermarket line using 1,001 coupons when that’s the only lane open.
But I clothe myself in what honors Him.
God is patient with me daily. And I am so glad He is.