Patience. Not really my virtue.

As I herded the kids into the car this morning it was all I could do to keep my eyes open so they would not freeze from the bitter cold and brisk wind gusts. For those of you who are up north, keep your comments to yourself about how "This really isn't THAT cold!" Yes it is that cold for a southern boy living on the coast, so leave me alone.

Anyway, just as I was about to put the car in gear I felt a rush of cold air behind me. I turned to see that my five year old daughter decided to push open her door, just because she could. Quickly, I reminded her that we don't open the car doors once we are inside the car unless we had reached our destination and daddy has put the car in park. With that said, I backed out of the driveway and as I headed down the road to an alarm sounded, telling me that a door was not properly shut. Can you guess whose door it was?

With impatience starting to hover all over me, I stopped the car and ordered my five year old to open and shut her door again so that it could latch. With an "Okay, daddy!" she proceeded to take her seat belt off so that she could open the door that just a minute ago she had no problem opening from a seated and belted position. Once again, I found myself barking at her, directing her to buckle herself back in while I got out in the miserable cold to shut the door for her. Now, we were ready to go. Except that we weren't.

It seems that my sweet little five year old decided that her seat belt was optional for the second go round. My son hollered out, "Dad! Her seat belt isn't buckled!" as I was turning out of the neighborhood. Once again I stopped the car but this time it was not to offer assistance. I was running out of patience. So I did what any other responsible and loving parent would do - I gave her a lecture on car safety and responsibility.

She did not handle that very well.

Once the belt was buckled and all safety standards had been met, I finished my task of dropping off the kids at school and set out to take care of my other responsibilities. Except that I could no longer really focus on what those other things were because I was now convicted at my gross display of impatience toward my 5 year old daughter who was pretty excited to show me that she knew how to open and close her car door and fasten and unfasten her seat belt without any assistance. Yeah, I had blown it. Again.

Patience is not really my strong suit, but in saying that I am not using my lack of patience as an excuse. Someone once said that if you lack patience don't ask God for it because He will put you in situations where you will be forced to learn the hard way. Now I am pretty sure that is not found in the Bible, but the premise behind the idea is strong nonetheless. Patience can be hard!

Recently I heard Francis Chan preach from 2 Peter 1:1-9 where he explained that we are actually partakers of God's divine nature (vs.4). That means it is in me to live for Christ because Christ Himself is in me. And because of my standing with God in Christ, I must "make every effort" to live my life in such a way that brings ultimate glory to God (vs.5). Those worlds make every effort have stuck with me. I cannot hope to achieve any righteousness on my own, but knowing that I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God, I must make every effort to act and speak and think for the glory of God and for the good of man. This includes the area of patience, of which God possesses an abundant supply.

Honestly, my effort at patience has not been all that hot, but realizing my standing in Christ encourages me that I can improve. God's patience for me is my template. I cannot wait until my daughter comes home from school today so that I can kneel down beside her, look her in the eyes, and tell her that daddy is sorry for being so impatient with her. Patience may not be my virtue, but it is my goal and with Christ in me I can certainly get there.


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