Quick Trips in Learning Patience #steadfast #rethinkchurch #rethinkChristmas @erikwillits

Sometimes when I fuel up my car at the gas station, I get so impatient that I start squeezing the handle before the pump is primed to dispense the gas.  Then it makes this annoying clicking sound, kind of like it wants to say to me, “Slow down, junior!!!”  If you know what I mean, there’s a chance you’ve been impatient a time or two at the gas station.

After I began to see a pattern of this every time I stopped by the filling station, I had the bright idea of turning each time I fuel my car into a spiritual exercise.  Now, if I remember, I hold the gas pump handle and wait to hear/feel the pump turn on.  Then I’m ready to go at it.  This quirky little process helps me slow down and learn patience.  It’s actually become kind of important to me.

I don’t think this deserves to be labeled as some sort of mental disorder.

(Yet.)

I’ll keep you posted.

Being patient in the small things like that helps us grow in patience for bigger things in life.  Our Advent celebration features the need for patience as we await Jesus’ return.  In his book Advent, Erik Willits addresses this need to cultivate patience in our lives, especially when it comes this waiting for Jesus.  He wrote, “The kind of waiting we do during Advent isn’t passive; it’s not a couch potato kind of waiting.  Instead, it’s the waiting of the backup quarterback who practices, prepares and lives in such a way that you would think that he is the starter.”

Weird to think about, huh?  While Christ followers are to expect and hope for Jesus’ return, I usually don’t ever think that He will return while I’m alive and kicking.  But that doesn’t mean that we are to live our lives in resignation.  No, we are to live as if Jesus were just around the corner, coming ’round the mountain (as He comes).  We are to be engaging the things that God calls us to do.  Justice.  Engaging God through prayer and Scripture.  Being in community.  Sitting next to the smelly kid at the lunch table.  Cultivating patience in our lives.

Advent is a time to learn how to be steadfast.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  –Psalm 51:10

This is a great prayer during anytime of the year, but it can be poignant during Advent.  Do you struggle with wanting everything to get done AND NOW?!?!??  Do you struggle with long lines at stores when YOU HAVE THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH???

Consider finding small things to cultivate patience in yourself.  Ask God to help you be steadfast, not just as we wait for Jesus to return and set things right.  Ask God to help you be steadfast in grocery store lines, spending time with people who irk you, and in anything else that gets under your skin.

You’re Christmas season will be a whole lot more spiritual feeling when you do.

Merry Christmas!

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About Brian Swanson

Christ follower. Screw up. Stained with grace. Ruined by Jesus.
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