Do you ever say something and think, “Why did that even come out of my mouth? That sounded like a dumb answer.” Well that has only happened to me once in my life. (Totally joking.)
When I was back home visiting and I was speaking somewhere, a dear sister in Christ asked me, “What have you learned so far on the mission field?” Or something to that aspect. I quickly just said, “Patience.” And then I thought to myself, “Why did that come out of my mouth?” People are supporting me to live in another country for me to learn patience? That sounded like the wrong answer. I have learned so much more than that but I couldn’t even put it into words.
Trying to forget about it, I still struggled with what I said. I analyze everything I say. So I took it to the Lord and was like, “Ok, Lord. Why did patience come out of my mouth?” I started thinking about it and I realized on the mission field you have to be so patient with people. It’s so hard living in a different culture; everything is just different. People are still people. Trees are still trees. Food is still food. But even all of the things that we have in common are not the same. I have learned to be patient and accept how people do things, even if it’s 20 times slower or different than the way I would do it. Confession: I still have a hard time with how slow people walk. I walk just about everyday at the MRT station and with it even being so crowded, people walk like the day will never end while I have a million things to do. (Haha)
I would say the second thing I am learning more is to have patience with the Lord. Patience in waiting for His perfect timing and not mine. I want things to happen when I want them to happen. Knowing if I always got what I wanted when I wanted it, my life would crumble and fall apart. I am learning to be patient with the Lord when He doesn’t give me an answer right away knowing He has the answers and will tell me when I’m ready to receive and do it. He is always faithful and has never failed me yet. I need to be patient in knowing that He has my best interest at heart.
But something was still missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. A few days later, the same sister in Christ messaged me on FB this picture that’s posted above. “There are three indispensable requirements for a missionary: Patience, Patience, Patience.” As I read it God said, “It’s you.”
I began to cry. I need to learn to have patience with myself. I am so guilty of putting so much pressure on myself. I tell myself I should know how to do this project perfectly, I should know this answer, or even ask myself why can’t I pick up the Thai language faster, and why is teaching college students so difficult for me, to even why am I so slow at everything? I’m so hard on myself. Even though that can be a good thing, it’s also a very stressful thing in my life that I know God didn’t put there. I want to be at the top already. I want to know how to do everything correctly and professionally. I want to accomplish so much, but I realize it doesn’t happen over night. Success takes patience; to me is seems such a struggle. Whether it’s success in man’s eyes or not, I want to be successful in God’s eyes in what He wants from me.
By having the word “patience” come out of my mouth that day, God wanted to show me a lot about what I have learned and where I still need to grow. I know I’ll never get to the perfect place of always having patience, but it’s something I am trying to be aware of. I can be thankful of how far I have come, where Christ as brought me, and where He is leading me.
So in life, try to practice a little more patience with people. We don’t know what they are thinking, feeling, or going through. Because of your patience you have with them, it could help them overcome some of their own personal battles they have within themselves. Ask God to give you patience with Him. He holds the whole world in His hands. (I know that God has all the patience because He has to deal with me.) And more importantly, have patience with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over something you wish you could do better, learn already, or have accomplished. Everyone is different in their own way, so be patient with yourself too.