I wish I could honestly announce that I have saintly patience. I wish that I could tell you that I don't get frustrated. I wish I could say that the peace I experience washes away all negativity, worries or concerns.
But I wouldn't be being entirely honest.
Yes, my patience has increased as I've aged, matured and grown in my relationship with God. My patience was paper thin. Let's just say that now it is more like a plaster wall. This isn't good enough. I need a heavily fortified, brick barricade keeping me from myself and my impatience. Psychologists love to say that the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one. I suppose this is the approach I am taking when it comes to gaining patience. I am admitting that I am still very much on the road to getting to where I want to be and I'm trusting that God will do the work in me. But first I had to admit it.
Admission #2: I get frustrated. Case in point being my weight. I had started to put on weight. 7 pounds in a month and a half. Not too shabby, right? But in the past week I've lost half a pound and my energy has taken a dip due to my digestion going completely off whack. Why is this happening again? Why is my progress being stalled and even backpedalling? I'll be honest, I'm beyond frustrated! I'm down right saddened. The progress I was seeing was lifting my spirits in ways I hadn't experienced in years. Now they are crushed. My mood has been crushed with them. I am trying to pull myself up by my boot straps, continue the good fight and embrace the promises of God found in scripture. But it is an every moment struggle.
Peace has been hard to come by. It feels like I am in a constant battle to be at ease. I keep praying, I keep asking God to sustain me and be my joy. The moment I stop the prayer the peace is gone. Shouldn't it last a little longer? Am I going to have to become a monk, calling on God day and night just to keep myself emotionally whole and peaceful?
I don't have any answers for these difficulties that plague me. The cry of my heart is to simply be pleasing to God. But in the midst of my trials I don't feel pleasing to him at all. I feel like I'm floundering.
And then the silly little tune from that beloved kids movie "Finding Nemo" pops into my head: "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...."
"What do you do when life gets you down?....just keep swimming, swimming, swimming"
When life gets frustrating, your patience runs dry and peace is hard to come by, just keep swimming. Simply forge ahead. It may not be easy and it may feel like you are trapped in a tide that won't let you go, but just keep moving. The moment that you stop is the moment that you lose the fight. If you don't keep pushing against the negative feelings and the difficulties they will overtake you. So just keep swimming. There will be smoother waters and brighter days ahead. To get to them you must simply keep swimming.