Last Week

Last week, we looked at two manifestations of patience: short-term and long-term. The one difference that we focused on was the frequency. Typically, we’ll experience more short-term opportunities, such as waiting in line (ugh, who wants to do that!) or being stuck in traffic (same!). Yet those can be opportunities instead of inconveniences. God does some of His best work when we’re waiting, including the short term.

Strength Training

So, it’s no secret that I love to swim, bike, and run. Those are my sports. But I am by no means a weight lifter or bodybuilder. I mean, just look at me! I’m not built for it. When God created me, He definitely didn’t say,

“Now there’s a guy who’s gonna be buff!”

And it’s not due to my lack of trying, mind you. I have! I wish I could somehow obtain that chiseled look. But I’ve yet to accomplish that. It’s because strength training is not something I enjoy doing, so I don’t give it the needed attention.

So, you can imagine my utter excitement (insert sarcasm, please) when someone told me I needed to work on core strength. Ugh! That’s the worst kind of strength training. No one in their right mind wakes up in the morning and says to themselves,

“Man I can’t wait to make my mid-section so uncomfortable that farting becomes a painful process.”

You see, I was experiencing some back pain from swimming. When I described it to someone smarter than me, they told me I was swimming too much with my back muscles and not enough with my core muscles. I would need to spend some time in the gym, so I did.

I was also told that I needed the correct nutritional and recovery conditions to gain the most benefit. This included a slight change in diet and rest. I was reminded of what muscle goes through during training when I asked why. Now, I’m no trainer or body health specialist. I’m ignorant about the body’s workings and content with that. So, bear with me as I describe this process.

The process starts with a stimulus. This is the training itself which stimulates the muscle and causes trauma, which is simply a term used to describe muscle damage. Muscle tissue is broken down and torn. This forces the muscle to restructure and grow again; as the muscle does this, it grows stronger. In most people (not me), it grows bigger. For a bodybuilder to lift more weight, he or she must use the muscle and work it till the muscle fibers tear. When the repair begins, the fibers are stronger and more prominent.

But only if under the correct nutritional and recovery conditions.

Patience Training

Growing in patience is similar. No, it’s not a muscle, but it grows like one. As I’ve said, you’ll only know how far you can go once you push past where you’ve been. That works with patience.

It first takes seeing both the short-term and long-term as opportunities. Note I did not prefix opportunities with the word fun. But they are opportunities for God to work while we’re waiting. To train in patience, we must get the proper nutrition and rest. This includes spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Scripture study, solitude, submission, service, and worship. But it’s also involving ourselves in others’ lives, such as church congregations and small groups. These nourish us and provide us with spiritual strength so we can respond out of a full tank and not an empty one.

Which brings me to the recovery condition. In recovery from strength training, the body has a chance to revive and heal. It’s that process I described earlier. Our lives are no different. We need recovery time – the time that we break away. I’m reminded of what others wrote about Jesus’ time management. Jesus was busy. But he was never in a hurry.

When was the last time you could say you weren’t in a hurry? Maybe you can. That’s great! But if you can’t, you must stop and take a break. The world will keep spinning. The work will be there when you get back. It’s not going anywhere. Recovery happens when we nourish ourselves with the disciplines I mentioned above. But they can’t be rushed through. It’s no different than giving your body a chance to absorb nutrients after a meal. You have to recover and find nourishment in God. And that takes time.

The Challenge

This week, begin creating the correct nutritional and recovery conditions for yourself. Be ready for patience to be tested because when it is, and you persevere, you grow. God does some of His best work while you’re waiting.

Next week, we’ll look at some things that can be hindrances to growing in patience.

You are loved!