An Exercise of Patience

Posted: March 28, 2012 in Discipleship, Living Stones Church
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graphic from theresurgence.com

I think everyone who knows me well if you asked them to describe me in one word, would probably say “patient” (“pugnacious” would come in a close second).  Sam Barrington = patience (this is my blog and I can live in whatever fantasy world I so choose!!).

This past week our Communitas Group (our small groups at Living Stones Church) assignment was to at the end of the day log and note when we struggled with patience.  What were the triggers?  What is our typical response when impatient (e.g., yell, sigh, blow up, passive aggressive, silent treatment, vent, count to 10, etc.)?  Who or what do we find we have the least amount of patience for?  How do we cultivate the discipline of patience into our lives.

What I noticed is that there is a huge difference between external and internal patience.  Probably because I was sensitive to the assignment (and my in-laws were in the house for the week) and I didn’t want to come to our small group and confess I hurled a chair at the church staff (I did that once…well…not actually at the staff…but it was close) or that I yelled at my kids so loud that paint chips from the exterior of the house fell off.  So (and my kids would probably dispute this) I felt like it was a good week in regards to external manifestations of patience.

But how a guy looks on the outside, doesn’t mean anything to what he is experiencing on the inside (note what is said about the neighbor who was involved in some shooting – everyone says, “he seemed like such a nice quiet guy“).  Because as I thought about how I had done pretty good externally, I’m not sure I felt it internally.  And I think I can say that as a general life condition I have.

My hair is falling out (I name each departing hair after the person I think caused it), I’m on blood pressure medication, and my body feels perpetually tense.  I went to the dentist a few weeks ago (first time in over 5 years) and they asked me if I clinch or grind my teeth.  I said, “nope” (in spite of clear visual evidence from the pictures and x-rays).  “Don’t think that I do.”  And since then, do you know what I’ve noticed?  I CLINCH MY TEETH ALL THE TIME!!!

So, how do I move external to internal.  This seems to be at the heart of real spiritual discipline.  And this is the exercise we’re trying to work out in Communitas.  This isn’t easy.

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Comments
  1. Melissa says:

    I’m on my second night guard after CHEWING THROUGH the first one. The dentist thinks I’m clenching during the day also. I realized during the exercise how incredily self-centered is my impatience. That realization deflated the sense of pride I had in my impatience, which I didn’t know was there. I don’t wish to be self-centered. I’m getting better. I’m a work in progress.

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