Are you patient with yourself? Now that’s a question you really need to meditate on before you answer.
Most times, we feel a need to be hard on ourselves because we believe “it helps us become our best critic and develop us into our better self” and that might be true, but being your best critic can also easily transform into something that becomes very unhealthy. It might make you not appreciate anything good about yourselves. So much so, even when you’re making good progress you’ll barely see your progress. You’ll just have these different templates you use to judge yourselves and you’ll always feel “never enough” because you do not fit into the templates you have in your mind as standards.
How do you handle disappointments, especially when it has to do with your spiritual growth? When you set out to achieve something and you seem not to get the desired picture you have in mind, how do you react? Do you shrink into your shell and just feel so defeated and conclude you can never make it? Do you think repeating a process over and over again is an “I can’t do it” sign? I believe you have all your answers in your head, or maybe not. So, let’s not talk about your possible answers, let’s just look at it from God’s perspective.
How does God view our “failures?”
In the Old Testament, God’s people couldn’t just get away with failures because there was always punishment, but there were still many rooms for failures. We’re no longer in the Old Testament; we’re now in the New Testament and before God, there will always be room for all we can ever tag “failure.”
Why am I putting “failure” in quotes? Well, some of the things we tag “failure” aren’t really failures. They are just processes we must go through to get our desired results, because to really know how to do things correctly, most often than none, we have to repeat the process over and over and over again. We have to train ourselves. We have to train our flesh…over and over and over and over…and over again.
When we teach kids the letters in the English Alphabet, do we make them go through it just once? Well, no! We make them take it one letter at a time, and we don’t just do that for a week, we actually do it throughout their nursery classes. Why? Because we want it to sink in, develop, and stay rooted in their minds. That way, whenever they see any letter of the English Alphabet they will immediately recognize it.
This “repetition process” applies to the adult too. When we’re learning to drive we do it over and over to master the skill. We don’t learn to move a car the first day and just forget about every other thing. No, we commit to a process and stay committed to it until we get to the point where we can now feel confident enough to do the dangerous things like texting and driving or taking our hands off the steering wheels when the vehicle is in full motion (please never do these). This same “repetition process” is what we commit to, if we want to achieve our fitness goals.
The point is we don’t get angry at ourselves when it takes us time to learn a new skill or develop our careers or build our muscles. We don’t give up on the process, we commit to it, because we know we’re in training. But when it comes to our spiritually walk, we take one step, and expect everything to just fall in place at once, and when we still find ourselves struggling, we just believe we aren’t making any progress and hence it isn’t worth committing to the process. We start reading the Bible and praying, say a week ago and when we still find ourselves lying or displaying any other acts from the flesh; we just want to give up. We believe we can’t make it. We believe we aren’t worthy. We believe we are hypocrites, and we’ll just want to give up out of frustration.
But do you know that the way you train your body to adapt to a place, thing or person is how you also need to train your body to adapt to your spirit that became perfect when you accepted the offering of Jesus? Can you remember how you felt when you first moved to your current environment? Did it feel strange? Did you know how to buy and the best place to buy from? Did you ask questions? And what happened when you stayed in that new environment for a while, say like six months? My guess is you didn’t feel like a newbie anymore. You started figuring out how to get by on your own. And if you keep asking questions to learn and update your knowledge, you’ll keeping seeing how best to enjoy and benefit from that place.
How about when you got a new phone? How did you feel about the phone on day one, and how did you feel about it after seven months?
And then, when you met your now bestie, can you remember how awkward you were with him or her? If you were like me, you probably even avoided that person at some point.
If you don’t continue to stay in a place, stay with a thing, and stay close to someone you won’t get use to the place, thing or person.
If only you can see what is coming from the inside to the outside
O dear child of God, if the eyes of your understanding are open to how your spirit is already taming your flesh when you began the spiritual exercises, you won’t give up. If the Holy Spirit reveals to you how hell became very nervous at your very first step towards surrendering all to Jesus, you won’t want to ever look back or even take a short break. A lot, a whole lot is going on already. Your physical eyes can’t see it. But you have to believe that you’re no longer the same. As you keep yielding to the Holy Spirit, one day you’re just going to wake up and see on the outside what the Holy Spirit has been working on, from the inside. It will be a shock to you and everyone around you.
This reminds me of a colleague at work. She was almost five months pregnant, but physically her tummy wasn’t showing it, at all. We all kept asking her if she was really pregnant or just joking with us. I mean you needed to see this lady’s belly when she was already stepping into her last trimester, the pregnancy wasn’t visible. But she showed up one day at work, and we saw her little big belly and few weeks after that she gave birth. Initially, we couldn’t see it, but the beautiful baby was very well and just baking in the stomach. When the pregnancy was matured enough to be visible with her body type, we saw its physical evidence and when it was time for delivery, her beautiful baby came forth.
All and every the Bible says you are you became the moment you accepted the offering of Jesus. But the flesh won’t let you see who you already are in the spirit. The flesh will make you believe you’re still the same old you…refuse to believe that. When you accept the offering of Jesus, you’re no longer the same. You’re different. You’re brand new. Your spiritual exercises will help you work out who you are in the spirit into the physical. This process is what we call “Spiritual Growth.” The processes of making your flesh conform to who you already are in the spirit. You shouldn’t let go of the process, no matter what you see or feel in the physical, because the physical isn’t the real you.
Keep at it
Be patient in and with the process. You are getting better with each passing day. This process of growth takes time. And guess what? We don’t get to a 100% while we’re still wearing this dust clothing called flesh. As long as we’re still on earth, there’s always room for growth. We get to a 100%, when we reunite with Jesus on the other side of eternity.
So, you see all those Christians you admire and truly desire to be like? They had to grow too, and they are where they are today because they didn’t give up on the process. They made mistakes like you too. They struggled with the flesh too. They had down moments like you too, but they did not allow that stop them. They kept pushing forward, and they are still pushing. No Christian, while still on earth, has reached the highest height of Christian growth. We’re all work in progress.
I know it can be really frustrating most times. I know the devil will always want to use this developing process against us. I know we sincerely want to grow immediately and just live our whole life for Jesus. I know because I felt the same way when I wanted to get to this level I am, in my walk with God. And I’m still feeling the same way as I desire to get to a better level. But few days before writing this post, in the place of prayer I heard God say to me,
“Gift yourself patience. You’re growing. You’re not where you use to be. Your flesh is trying hard to deceive you, but refuse to believe. Just stay committed to the process.”
And just so I’ll know it was really God that spoke to me, the next morning I tuned to a Christian channel and right there in the television, was a Pastor preaching on the topic, “Be patient with yourself.” Isn’t God just super beautiful, wonderful and absolutely powerful? Yes, He is. If God is patient with you, with me, with all of us, then we have to be patient with ourselves too.
This post is me just extending the encouragement I’m enjoying from the Holy Spirit your way, and here are some scriptures you should mediate on, with me:
“Therefore if any person is (in-grafted) in Christ, the Messiah he is (a new creature altogether) a new creation; the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away. Behold the fresh and new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“…Work out—cultivate, carry out to the goal and fully complete—your own salvation with reverence and awe…” Philippians 2:12
“…train yourself towards godliness (piety) —keeping yourself spiritually fit. For physical training is of some value—useful for a little; but godliness [spiritual training] is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promises for the present life and also for the life which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
“And all of us, as with unveiled face [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor…” 2 Corinthians 3:18
My prayer for you and me:
I pray we get to love ourselves like God loves us. I pray we learn to hear, listen and believe the voice of the Holy Spirit and not our flesh. I pray we see and embrace the Grace that is always available, when we feel like failures. I pray our walk with Jesus keeps getting better and brighter. In Jesus’ name…Amen.
Do get in the gym, be patient in the process and do
Stay Spiritually Fit.