Have you ever come to the end of your patience and simply exploded? Me too.
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
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When we run out of our own natural patience, we can reach out for God’s supernatural patience.
But I didn’t.
The Labor Day story
I remember the Friday before Labor Day of 2016. I commuted for several hours from Decatur to Cumming, GA coming home from work.
My regular commute to and from work was nearly 100 miles a day. I had two back injuries and was in pain. And I had a husband who was cheating on me, which caused even more pain.
It was a hot afternoon. I was exhausted.
As I pulled into the driveway of our marital residence, Michel texted me that he was gone.
He informed me that his plan was to spend the holidays with his friends in the mountains.
I was left completely alone in the country house where I just moved to be with Michel, away from everything I knew in the city.
Less than four months prior to that, I walked down the aisle and there stood Michel, with tears of happiness in his eyes, declaring his genuine love for me to the world.
It was May 14th if 2016. Our wedding day. I became “Missis Szabo” and looked forward with a hopeful heart to spending the rest of my life with the man I loved and respected.
After the wedding, Michel abandoned our marriage and declared to me that his bicycle was now his wife he cheated on me with. He said that all he wanted was to be an IronMan and complete in Kona.
He was gone every weekend riding his bicycle from GA to AL and back. Hundreds of miles and dozens of hours spent with his bicycle.
My hope for the Labor Day was to at least talk through our marriage situation.
Now, Michel was gone.
I came to the end of my patience. I was angry. I was irate. I felt mistreated, disregarded, abandoned, and deceived.
Having reached the end of my patience, I exploded. I texted Michel a middle finger picture accompanied by significant amount of profanity. I told Michel in detail where he should go and how exactly to get there.
What I said was mean. My words were filled with hatred and jealousy. Why?
I was jealous because I wanted to be with my husband but he didn’t want to be with me. He had other priorities.
I remember our marriage counselor say: “Michel lives a lifestyle of a single man, and you’re married to him.”
It was true. It was painful. It was devastating. It was unfair.
After texting all that to Michel, I cried in my car about who I chose to be when I accepted the limits of my natural patience and cussed him out.
My natural patience was limited but God’s supernatural patience is limitless. Yet, I didn’t reach out for His patience when I ran out of mine.
The opposite of patience
I acted in that situation foolishly. The Bible actually describes that kind of hot-tempered behavior in Proverbs.
Proverbs 14:29 says this:“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly”
“Folly” stands for foolishness and stupidity. That’s what the Bible calls the behavior I chose that day.
Stupidity is the opposite of patience, whether we explode with anger and rage or jealousy and blame.
Since then, I’ve been on a journey of practicing patience. But first, I had to learn about the source of unlimited patience.
My patience breakthrough
You see, we lose patience when either someone else or we ourselves violate our blueprint of standards and expectations for how things should be.
We all have blueprints for how everything should be in life. And in addition to our perfect blueprints for life’s circumstances, we also carry around manuals for people.
We know exactly how people should be.
My manual for Michel had all my expectations clearly defined. But Michel didn’t follow my manual. I lost my patience and I was angry.
What was the source of my patience? My expectations, all captured in my mental manual for how everything should be in life and how people should be with me.
What about God’s expectations for me?
He clearly defined in the Bible how He wanted me to be. But I wasn’t like that. I violated His standards for my behavior pretty regularly.
Was God at the end of His patience with me? Oh no, He’s been so very patient! Why? Because the source of God’s patience is not His expectations (law) but His love (grace).
This was the breakthrough I needed.
The supernatural source of patience
Love leads to grace. Expectations lead to the end of patience.
Ephesians 4:2 says this:“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Can you see how before patience there’s humbleness first? The opposite of humbleness is self-righteousness.
Earthly self-righteousness leads to arrogance. I was being arrogant in my communications with Michel. I believed that I was right and Michel was wrong. I felt that I was all good and Michel was all bad.
Instead of behaviors of the Spirit, such as humbleness and patience, I demonstrated behaviors of the Flesh, such as arrogance and hostility.
It dawned on me: just like I was betrayed by Michel, so was Jesus betrayed by me that day.
By accepting Jesus as my lord and savior in 2014, I inherited His Spirit. Jesus set me free from sin and flesh. He asked me to abide in Him and honor His commands leaning on the Holy Spirit for guidance.
And what did Jesus command me to do?
To love Michel, to be forgiving, humble, and patient… Did I do it? No.
Matthew 7:7 says this:“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Did I reach out to God asking for patience? No. Why? Because I chose self-righteousness that led to my anger and hostility.
I had the supernatural source of patience waiting for me to reach out through prayer. My lord and savior, Jesus Christ, was waiting for me to choose to abide in Him and show patience to Michel as the Fruit of God’s Spirit in me.
But I didn’t reach out. I didn’t pray. I didn’t ask. I didn’t receive. I relied on my own limited ability.
Galatians 5:17 says this:
“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
I chose “the things I want to do,” aka “flesh.” I chose anger instead of patience. I chose to be stupid instead of practicing God’s wisdom.
From impatience to stupidity
Why did I choose impatience that led to stupidity?
I wanted Michel to choose me over his IronMan bicycle. I wanted him to honor our marriage. I wanted his priorities to switch from those of a single man to those of a married man.
I wanted us to build a future together. I wanted to love him and to be loved by him. I wanted Michel to be my husband because he asked me to marry him and we were now married.
Psalm 27:14 says this:“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
I wasn’t willing to wait. I wanted our marriage to work out now. I wanted Michel to be a Godly husband as he promised in his vows. There was only one thing: I forgot all about my own vows to Michel…
Looking back, I see how my expectations led me to foolishness, aka stupidity.
It happened because I leaned for patience on my natural ability. My natural ability is limited. But God gave me His Spirit if Truth to lean on. God gave me unlimited access to His infinite wisdom and supernatural patience. I just needed to reach out for it.
When I gained wisdom and understanding, I realized the true source of supernatural patience – Jesus, God’s grace, and the Holy Spirit that’s guiding me to stand on God’s promises.
God promised to give us what we ask for, so we need to ask for patience.
Being patient in Christ
I’m now reaching out for God’s supernatural patience rooted in grace every time I come to the end of my own natural patience rooted in expectations.
I ask God through prayer and so far I can confidently attest: He never failed me.
What about you? What is the source of your patience?
If you choose Jesus, grace, and God’s promises for your daily living, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often to remind yourself that you are patient in Christ.
I am patient
I ask and then I wait for the Lord patiently.I have patience because I have great understanding.I am bearing with others humbly and gently.In my troubles, I’m on God’s promises standing.
How do you plan to use God’s supernatural patience in your daily life?
Share with me in the comments below so I can cheer you on.
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Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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