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How To Be Patient

Mixed media sculpture of a running horse
Born Free, Mixed Media, Sara Joseph

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:2

Have you often felt impatient, wishing that God would work on your behalf, even before a whispered prayer left your lips?

Restlessness, when I ought to be patient or willing things to happen just a little bit quicker, is a familiar emotion.

Answers eventually arrive, usually in an unexpected manner, sometimes long after I had any expectation left. At that time I find myself marveling at the genius of God. He has a way of masterminding timing and circumstances to benefit not only me, but also those whose lives intersect mine!

We see just one aspect of any situation—He sees the whole! Knowing this does help curb my impatience a little.


To Be Patient, Recognize Impatience.

Relief Sculpture of a running horse in polymer clay by Sara Joseph
Detail, Born Free, Mixed Media, Sara Joseph

As a Christian artist, I find myself impatient for ability, mastery, ideas and insight.

I long to serve God well in this capacity, to be the best that I can be, and to represent Him with excellence.

While these are noble sentiments, I'm stuck with the reality of where I am and the skills I currently possess, or don't possess. That is when my need for patience screams the loudest.

There is such a yawning gap between what I desire and where I am.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that the King James Bible equates with being "long suffering." To our impulsive nature, being patient surely feels like a form of suffering!

Fruit does not grow overnight, but needs time to develop. I need to take a deep breath (or many!) and let God do the developing, submitting in faith to the process at work in me.

Sculptural detail of the hoofs and tail of a horse in polymer clay
Detail, Born Free, Mixed Media, Sara Joseph

To Be Patient, Ask For Insight

It's possible to be patient if I understand what's going on.

When I create a piece, there are steps in the process that follow in logical sequence. I cannot hurry them along. A layer of paint applied too quickly, before the one below has dried, will spell disaster for the painting.

I can be patient if I know where I'm going and how long it will take to get me there. Even a vague image of the final outcome, hovering just out of reach, will encourage me to patiently follow each step in the process.

In our creative lives we can't often anticipate a logical progression to success. There are not always step by step instructions to follow. We usually live with a lurking feeling of uncertainty. Creative tension is normal and ambiguity is to be embraced. We know that and yet fret!

  • Will what we create be as we envisioned?

  • Will it be worth our time and effort?

  • Will God consider it meaningful?

  • Will it eventually bless another? 

When questions like these cannot be answered with certainty, they become the trigger for impatience! That's when I ask God for wisdom to grasp what's really going on. What is He attempting to teach me in the slowness of time?  He is so faithful that when I've asked, I do receive a glimpse to keep me going.


To Be Patient, Remember The Mission & The Reward

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Tim 4:2

As artists, we are, in a sense, visually “preaching the word.” The emphasis is on preparation and readiness. It is also on persistent, faithful DOING, rather than a specific outcome. If I remind myself that I'll be rewarded for faithfulness and refuse to assess my progress by anything other than faithfulness, then I can be patient.

All God asks of me is to be faithful. That is now my objective—faithfulness in activity as directed by Him.

Through what I create, I live the truths I know about God—His nature, plans and purposes. For each of you that will take different forms unique to your abilities, artistic interests and media of choice.

Our skill, or the lack of it is not important to God. Our willingness is.

We are sadly our own worst critics. We assess the merits of our endeavors based on world views that we know conflict with the Bible! How easy it is to forget that we are in the world but not of it! ( John 17:6) We are on a mission sent by Jesus and therefore, under His command.

"As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." John 17:18

None of us can see clearly into the future. We only have a vague dreamlike sense of it, yet if we prayerfully seek God, He will give us His promises for it. Clarity, to the degree that His word reveals, is all we need for each day to keep pressing towards that future with its rewards.

What God commends He rewards. If He commends patience, then He also rewards it.

Merely pleasing God is enough of a reward to keep me motivated. But that's not all. The Bible tells me that every promise I desire to see fulfilled in my life will be appropriated only with faith and patience. That's all the incentive I need!

"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews 6:12

The Holy Spirit reminds me of these truths when I fly off the handle and want my way NOW! How grateful I am that He never leaves nor forsakes me in my impatience!

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