The Long-Distance Race


“The Christian life is not a series of 100-yard sprints; it is like a cross-country race. It’s a long obedience in the same direction.”
– Alistair Begg

I realized long ago that I’m not a very patient person. I sometimes wonder if it has something to do with the era I’ve spent my teens and adulthood; a world of ever-increasing instant gratification, from my first home computer, to the Netflix available in my pocket on my phone.

The truth is, impatience is just human nature. Sinful human nature. We want what we want when we want it. God, on the other hand, calls us to be longsuffering (Galatians 5:22)… patient.

Thankfully, I’ve seen God working on this in me over the last couple of years. I find I’m more patient with certain situations and with other people than I used to be. Don’t mistake me; I still lose my patience sometimes, but there’s growth.

As I’ve become more patient in some aspects, I’ve noticed something interesting. Other than the printer at my office (which causes me to have to do breathing exercises at least once a week when it spits my papers all over… out of order… ugh) I lose my patience the most with myself.

It’s mostly when I don’t feel like I’m learning something fast enough or well enough. When I don’t reach the goal as quickly as I want, or things are harder than I expected.

The impatience manifests itself as frustration. Not at the situation, but with myself. That frustration can be discouraging. In its worst instances it has caused me to give up.

Realizing this has been eye-opening. I see it now, and recognize it for what it is. I have to remind myself that nothing worth doing is done quickly or easily. Whether it be writing a novel, learning a language, or growing spiritually. It takes time, dedication, and patience. And I pray that God continues to work this flaw out of me, and replace it with his patience.

3 thoughts on “The Long-Distance Race

  1. Hi Jess

    I must say that I relate to this post a lot!

    “I lose my patience the most with myself.
    It’s mostly when I don’t feel like I’m learning something fast enough or well enough. When I don’t reach the goal as quickly as I want, or things are harder than I expected.
    The impatience manifests itself as frustration. Not at the situation, but with myself…”

    This is so shockingly true. I’m not sure what to do about it yet… I am so results-orientated within a certain time-frame. When I miss my goal or realise it isn’t coming together, I get so frustrated and angry with myself, which has led me to lose all enthusiasm for life and a general sad undertone to every day as my conscience reminds me of my short-comings.
    Of course this isn’t how God intended me to live.

    Like

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for sharing. Something I’ve started doing is forcing myself to take some things slower. Obviously that isn’t an option for everything (like work deadlines), but I’ve tried to compensate for those things by adjusting others. I cut my yearly reading goal in half. I decided to start learning a language again that I gave up on several years ago, but I’m not going to try to do a chapter a week of the textbook, like I did before.

      Small steps toward a change in practice and attitude.

      I don’t know your specifics, so I’d hate to try to give any advice, but if you ever need to talk, please dm me on Twitter.

      Like

      1. Hi Jessica

        Thank you so much for your reply!

        What you suggest makes a lot of sense to me… I was actually considering reassessing my timeline. I get so concerned about my 5-year timeline (what I want to achieve from 2019 to 2024) — I seem to forget that there’s also a 10-year timeline!
        As you said: “I have to remind myself that nothing worth doing is done quickly or easily.”

        Thank you for keeping your dm’s open and offering me your help. God bless you x

        Like

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