LOVE: is Patient
Suffers long (KJV)
Endures long and is patient (AMP)
Never gives up (MESSAGE)
Suffers long (NKJV)
As Singles, patience should be something we have in long supply, but it often seems like it’s something we just keeping running out of. Or is it something that we keep running from? Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Yep, sounds like something that I’ve run from many times. If you are Single, delay may be something that you are painfully familiar with in your life. It is defined as #thestuggle. We struggle with accepting God’s timing, especially when it doesn’t line with what we have planned for our lives.
Patience seems to come in small waves and doses. We are supposed to be patiently waiting for our spouse. Patiently waiting to be found as a female or to discover a woman worthy of being found as a man. Waiting. Patiently. Or at least that’s what we want the world to think, God forbid we look like we are thirsty or that we aren’t comfortable being where we are. So we wait, painfully, I mean patiently.
I want to challenge you, because there has to be an easier way. I think if we go back to the definition and get to the true essence of what is means to say love is patient, we will begin to find our peace. Accepting and tolerating delay are two different things, with very different outcomes. To accept delay without complaint is to understand that God is still writing your love story. It’s to know that though it tarry, your prince (princess) will come. And you not just wait for it, you anticipate it. It’s the beautiful culmination of a well-orchestrated journey. To simply tolerate delay relieves you of your power in this season. It lends to the notion that you are a victim of your circumstances and you have no control over what is, or isn’t, happening to you. Snap out of it. No one wants to be a victim. It’s not cute, trust me.
Patience is bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, and pain with fortitude (strength of mind), and maintaining calm without complaint, anger or the like. There is a difference between being patient as you wait for the Lord to present you as a woman or present the woman to you as the man- and simply not having the opportunity. You aren’t being patient in a drought, you are simply waiting for it to rain. Patience is enduring when your family asks again ‘when are you getting married, honey?’ Patience is enduring when all of your friends are getting married, and you are ever a bridesmaid but never a bride.
In Our Lives:
Because we love God (and more importantly, we don’t doubt His love for us)-we chose to trust His timing. We bear provocation from people who don’t deserve us, but we give a chance anyway. We face annoyance with being the ONLY single friend from our college group. We endure misfortune that seems like we will never get married all the while combating hardship in trying to remain pure. We overcome pain that sears our hearts but doesn’t touch our minds because we know that God has told us that He will withhold no good thing from us, so we understand that if we are not married, then it is simply not our time for this good thing. We show love in patience, because we haven’t just heard of Him, we intimately know Him.
In Our Relationships:
It is important to remain patience with each other, in love. Your significant other is not your spouse-or at the very least, not yet. There has to be a boundary line. When we start treating them like a spouse, with the same expectations and same benefits (stay with me), the love can begin to wear thin. Simple commitments are not built to withstand the same pressure of a covenant. Irritation usually rears its demanding head as a lack of patience. This comes from an expectation of perfection-not on our parts of course, but on theirs. We love to judge their shortcomings, while justifying our own. When they don’t live up to expectations that even we can’t meet, we are disappointed, and disappointment leads to irritation. Irritation from simply being in their presence. In my broken engagement, (yep, plug for you to read ‘NOT Another Singles Book’-don’t worry this won’t be the only one), I got to the point where even his chewing annoyed me. He could do no right, and there was nothing he could do to fix my level of frustration. I had already projected expectations on him of my husband, knowing that he could never fulfill the role, so I became even more irritated. Vicious cycle, but one I couldn’t break, nor even recognize until I realized that I was not patient with him, because I didn’t love him. At least not in the way that would ever sustain an happily ever after.
It’s impossible to practice patience if we hold on to this ‘right person’ myth. We foolishly believe that we won’t need patience when we meet the one because they will never try our patience. This is a lie from the pits, and I challenge you to capture and rebuke it. Even the Disney princesses understood that Prince Charming was never perfect.
Lastly, remember that lust and insecurity rushes, but love isn’t afraid to takes its time. Lust has to dive in headfirst, run full throttle because it never knows when the butterflies will go away, when reality will sink in, and the honeymoon is over. But, love is different. It realizes that this thing will be a marathon not a sprint, that it gets a second wind, and a third and a forth, and it only gets sweeter with time.
Love is characterized as patient first, because I believe that it will drive everything else we do, in love. If we can’t be long-suffering in this time of purification, then we will never be able to grasp the other aspects of this rich chapter that is righteously named God’s Love Chapter.
Let patience has had its perfect work, so that you will be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Love is patient…and so are we.