My challenge today is:
“quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19-20)
I am challenged in my patience everyday, to the point that it has broken relationships, caused anger and resentment with my parents, as well as my own marriage. I know God’s plan for me is an amazing one, but I didn’t always think that way. My root of evil is fear, abandonment, and rejection. I was adopted by two amazing, but broken people (we all are broken), and for years I have pointed fingers and lacked in taking real responsibility. However, my parents made it easy for me to act and behave like this because they loved me so much. They didn’t know what else to do. Because God blessed me with this rebellious spirit, I have gained much wisdom through trial and error of my own mistakes. That is true glory. I’m an accomplished athlete, received many awards, but never reveled in the moment. Always worried about what was next and how to get there, I never understood LOVE of the moment… Or LOVE at all.
So I moaned, I groaned, and I almost blew the house down. My patience for “what’s next” has been immense, and I’ve wrestled with so much turmoil something had to give. So much in fact it caused a spiritual oppression that had its claws so sunken into me, that it took 3 spiritual warriors to pray over me and break that bond… And that nasty little devil had been there for YEARS. As I discover patience, what it is to love, and my own spiritual journey with God I will share the hows, whys, and foundations to where I am today. The fun of it all is once I get going and can interview peeps to share their journeys as well, this will be moving along like the flow of a river, JUST YOU WAIT!
HOW I FOUND THE ROOT:
It wasn’t easy, and it has taken me 20 years to finally figure out and come to terms with it. I grew up believing in God, because I was supposed, but never had a real connection or relationship with Him. As a family we attended church every once and a while, and I was baptized when I was 13, which I thought “Yay now I’m in at the Golden Gates.” If you knew me in college and post-college you would have never knew I believed in God, I was living reckless. My self-centeredness & lack of patience kept me from experiencing joy, having healthy relationships with others, and created a thirst for wanting more and more and more. Failed relationship after another and a habitual rebellious spirit of drinking spirits, drugs, and yep you know the rest I tried numerous times to make the clean break. Then there was the consistent end result; which I ended up worse off than before. Advice was given that I need to do x,y, & z, read this self-help book, go to this anonymous group meeting, do what you want it’s your life you only live once. Needless to say it all failed, and failed so miserably that it left me feeling lower and lower each time, which just feeds the devil. The lifestyle I was living wasn’t only feeding poison into that root it was controlling me in the process. I wasn’t capable of doing this on my own, and there was no secular view that was going to help. I had been so blessed and given so many opportunities to succeed, but I couldn’t reach out to it and touch it if I wanted to, why? because I was NOT ready.
CULTIVATE THE ROOT:
It’s crazy how much we will take before we finally break. Most of those who are like me, love to keep doing what you’re doing because it’s safe and that’s what you know. You find every excuse to keep doing it, because I’ll just be honest you’re selfish, impatient, and resilient to wisdom. I pray you will all find guidance at some point; I am so there’s hope!
Not everyone has the same situation, but after years of abusing myself I finally threw out the garbage. It was the last season, summer of 2012, before I retired permanently from my Professional Softball career. I called my mom and broke down (this wasn’t the first and not the last either). I was mad at the world, but ready to retire from my past life, but not quite ready to go full boar towards God. The night I called her I had already erased every guy from my past, and surrendered my fear to my mom, by saying,
“Mom, I know I have always said I don’t want to get married or have kids, but that’s because I fear I just will never find the right man. All of them have been the wrong one and when will it be my time to find the right one?”
She knew the truth to my heart and so did God, He knew what my plan was all along but I was being resilient and inpatient to wait. That night I went to a show by myself at the “Milestone” in Charlotte, NC. I wasn’t there to carouse with the bands, but wanted a break from everything. I can’t deny that I had always wanted to date someone in a band, but my own insecurities and knowledge of the hard lifestyle they had, kept me away from the temptation.
That night at the “Milestone” changed my life. I had been speaking with the owner of the grunge bar/lounge for a while talking about not having a clue what I wanted to do now that softball was done. No joke either what was so inviting about this place wasn’t the fact that you felt that you would get Hep C from anything you touched, or the lingering must, and stale cigarette smoke, it was the owner and his best friend that were a spitting image of Wayne and Garth, yep “Exsqueeze me baking powder?” They kept me in stitches all night, and it was a nice change of scenery than being cooped up in my apartment or around my teammates. This place had been barely standing there for 50 years, but for some reason it felt comfortable and where I was supposed to be that night.
When I first walked into the “Milestone” I saw this thin, athletic guy in black skinny jeans and a blue tank top that had a bicycle and Japanese writing on it, I instantly wanted to talk to him, because I had lived in Japan for 2 years, but thought better of it. I was by myself in a grungy bar, and wasn’t interested in being a groupie. Which is why I sat at the bar most of the night and talked with the owner. Luckily, the owner that I was “groovy” and told me I could stay after hours and chill with the bands so I’d have something to write about. The reason for this was because I told him I was a writer and I was interested in music, so he said there’s no better place to be than at the bar after a show… That’s when the real debauchery begins. Just what I needed right?
This must have been an off night because no one was getting too cray cray, except that guy I saw earlier wearing the Japanese bicycle shirt, whom I thought was a roadie because he was helping with equipment. By cray cray I mean he had come over by me to order a coke about every 15 minutes or so, till he finally got the cahonies to talk to me. He asked, “Sooo do you know anything about sailing?” I just smiled and found great pleasure in this question because I replied, “Well, actually my dad built boats for the navy and loves to sail. I haven’t been, but I’d love to sometime.” He was flabbergasted by my response, because he thought he was being rico sauve, and I broke the ice in a way that ended up in a marriage and me moving to Nashville, TN.
Adam was how God reeled me back into the game and embarked me on a new journey. This was only a year ago, I’ve been married since February 2013 and I am now discovering the truth in patience, love, and my relationship with God. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been cotton candy and oversized stuffed animals either. I had to submit my fear of not getting married, and the timing was perfect. My idea of when I want something is so far off from what God wants, and this is how I am discovering TRUE PATIENCE and submission to God, and giving up “self” so I can find that inner child that’s love is simplistic, honest, and pure. Giving in to our flesh meaning worldly desires, getting drunk, being promiscuous, cursing, fighting, will not get you closer to where you want to be. In fact it takes you further from it, because we have a choice. You know when it feels wrong because you 1. Question it 2. Feel guilty 3. Have to make excuses for yourself. BELIEVE ME I DID IT FOR YEARS! Again, no one is perfect and this is not to brow beat you, your journey is and will be different than mine COMPLETELY. All I can say is stop treating yourselves poorly. Surround yourself with people that can challenge you and to give you truth that what you’re doing is harming you not making you stronger. Do you really understand what love is? With patience you will because “patience gives you the amazing ability to hold on during the tough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under pressure. (“Love Dare,” Kendrick, P.3)
To be honest I’m not great at this yet either, and need to be a better friend/spouse/daughter. I have plenty of people in my life that I wish I could shake them and tell them to shape up, because I’ve been there, but all I can do is show them my love and experiences through Christ that I am changing my life for the better. By no means is this a sprint, it’s a marathon, but worth every step. Remember, God is grace and love so if you can’t fathom that, any thought that is permitting you to do wrong or think negatively that is not of God.
I DARE YOU… to CHALLENGE yourself today and be patient. “Be quick to listen, and slow to speak.” No matter how angry you might get at someone, even your loved ones, find that unconditional love God has for you in that person and be “slow to speak.”
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV
Suggested reading & Movie if you are having troubles in your relationships:
“The Love Dare” by Stephen & Alex Kendrick
“Fireproof” the movie starring Kurt Cameron
And the best self-help book on the market: THE BIBLE