Win Today with Christopher Cook

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The One Must-Have Quality You Need Right Now

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Sometimes, I’m not a very patient person. And I’m not happy about that one bit—especially after last Friday.

The Back Story

Last week, I experienced the climax of two weeks worth of headaches from my website hosting provider. In fact, my blog and podcast were sidelined for 24 hours thanks to the massive oversight of two technical specialists. After a myriad of conflicting advice and explanations, I had it.

Needless to say, I came unglued and ripped into them like Tiny Tim on a Christmas ham. Note: when I’m upset, I don’t yell. Instead, I get quiet and very stealthy with my words, perhaps pulling on my Mafioso roots. After all, I reasoned, I’m a paying customer—a customer who just spent a lot more money upgrading my entire operation to a dedicated professional server. These jokers better get it together right now.

After nearly four hours on the phone on Friday alone, my issue was resolved.

But I was not.

I proceeded to tear the company down limb-by-limb.

Then that still small voice spoke inside my heart. “Do you feel better now?” Expecting validation and comfort, I smirked in affirmation.

Well, I don’t. And now, you’ve taken matters into your own hands and taken Me out of the picture, which would’ve yielded a better outcome anyway,” the Spirit whispered.

My heart sank. I totally blew it. Not only did I blow it, I blew-up at the technician who actually helped me.

Great witness, Chris.

With a rush of clarity drenched in conviction and sprinkled with a dusting of shame, I am completely assured in telling you that the one must-have quality you and I need right now—and I mean right now—is more patience. Why? Because life isn’t perfect and neither are the people in it, so buckle-up and expect to be inconvenienced, pushed to your limits, frustrated, and exasperated. It’s life. The question begs how will you respond? Rather, why will you respond the way you will respond?

It’s My Life…It’s Now Or Never

Remember Bon Jovi’s 2000 hit, It’s My Life? Just because it may be “my” life, doesn’t mean I’m not responsible for what comes out of…my life—and neither are you. What I discovered was that behind the impatience was a time bomb of unresolved frustration and disappointment from completely unrelated issues—issues that I left unattended for detonation.

The maturing I needed taught me that anger and frustration came out—not because of circumstances—but because anger and frustration was already inside.

Ouch.

Dig Deeper

Circumstances simply bring the anger and impatience to the surface. It’s precisely why we must prioritize dealing with the issues of our heart. Any thought or issue left unchecked has the probability to settle within our subconscious where decisions and values are truly established. The consequence of not dealing with issues privately is that they will be dealt with publicly, as was the case with my phone call assassination.

So what was brewing in my heart? Honestly, I’m still working that out. But on the surface, I’ve discovered that it’s what a lot of us deal with: fear of losing control and even some insecurity about our identity.

Patience Really is a Virtue

I know you’ve been here before. We all have. And none of us are completely immune from it. But in the frustration, we have the opportunity to build a larger muscle of character. Because of this, here are three bulletproof truths about patience we must never forget:

  1. We must remember that in life, we interact with real humans with real emotions. We can’t belittle and tear people down as if they’re robots. In my circumstance, the conviction I felt was heavy. How could I fairly assume that one of the technicians I worked with didn’t have a tragedy or crisis clouding his best judgment? Lesson learned: give people the benefit of the doubt every time.
  2. Patience is only learned under pressure. You can’t learn patience by principle and theory. Nor can you read a book on how to develop patience in 21 days.
  3. A faulty past never justifies a faulty present. Victims live a reactionary life in which their mantra, “the devil made me do it,” is justified by negative past life experiences. On the contrary, victors respond to life from their identity, belief system, and core values, all of which are baked in a rugged container called “priorities and perspective.”

The Bigger Picture

Often, what we fail to realize in the heat of the moment is that we have no privilege to compartmentalize our life. The “Christ follower” hat doesn’t ever come off. It is for that reason that the bigger picture of the effect of our life isn’t one we can take for granted. Here’s my point, validated by the apostle Paul:

“I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.” (Ephesians‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭AMP)

Did you catch that? The behavior that is a credit to the call of God does indeed make allowances for people. And that’s a tough pill to swallow.

So what’s the solution? According to Scripture, meekness, which is essentially the exhibition of character and strength under control. It’s a lesson in leadership for the ages. The question is whether or not everything can be going wrong on the outside while all is well on the inside.

Mouthful after mouthful, I ate my humble pie a la mode. I’m certain you’ve been in a similar place before. I’m certain you’ve let a gasket or two fly off in reaction to a spouse, co-worker, friend, or child. And I’m certain you weren’t proud of acting out.

Unlucky and kind of inconvenient for us, there isn’t a 12-step plan for growth and recovery in this area of character development. So what do we have to do? Simply clean up our mess, realize we’re still in process, pursue the transformation of our heart and mind (which will change our behavior), commit to change and growth, and move on without shame and condemnation.

Selah.

  • Amanda McBride

    “Unlucky and kind of inconvenient for us, there isn’t a 12-step plan for growth and recovery in this area of character development.”

    Oh but there is! Celebrate Recovery is for all sorts of hurts, bad habits, and hang ups. I HIGHLY recommend the step study for anyone looking to better their character.

    • Hey Amanda! Great thought; you’re right! CR is AWESOME! 🙂 To be clear (and maybe my insinuation wasn’t clear in the blog…ha!), my point was that as much as we read, study, etc., the muscle of patience can truly only be strengthened when it is faced with resistance (i.e., adverse circumstances). THANKS so much for adding value to this post! You’re awesome!

      • Amanda McBride

        Thank you for sharing your battles as well as your victories in Christ.

        I was just trying to be funny while pointing others to CR. There has been so many times when I failed to learn the lesson from a trial. This is why I keep repeating them. Through a step study, I am learning why this is and how to move on. It has been a deep, rent-a-dumpster, kind of cleaning of my soul.

        God is good. 💛