How many of you know that God has a funny sense of humor? Have you learned that sometimes, you may ask for something - figured out all the angles on how He will answer your prayer - only to be shocked out of your seat as to how your prayer is answered? That has happened to me more times than I want to admit.
I am a pretty outspoken person, in case you haven't figured that out by now. When I was younger, I didn't have much of a "filter" when it came to saying how I felt about any situation. (Some of you may be saying, "and so, does she think that has changed?") And as a result, I spent more time than I wanted saying, "I'm sorry." "I didn't mean that QUITE the way it came out." And can I tell you? I HATE having to go back and apologize...for ANYTHING! I'd rather eat slimy okra than have to say, "I'm sorry." So, a few years ago, I determined that my one, sole, solitary resolution (I only can focus on one "problem area" at a time) was: TO PRACTICE THE ART OF PATIENCE. Simple, direct, easy, right? (See title above)
In my mind, my practicing the art of patience would consist of, you know, not being so "harsh" on people; recognizing that maybe, just maybe, I didn't always have to have the last word and maybe, occasionally someone else might have a better idea. Practicing the art of patience would involve taking a breath before speaking in order to clear my thoughts and make sure that what I was about to say was what I really wanted to say. Being patient would be easy. (See title above - and check out that first sentence again too while you are at it.)
God knew that for me to TRULY learn patience, to TRULY learn how to lean on Him and trust in Him, He had to move in a different way. See, the amazing thing about God: He KNOWS us...individually...and He KNOWS what we need. So, I started having some health issues. Started having to go to one specialist after another specialist after another. Started having to endure test after test after test. With no answers - or should I say, conflicting answers. For over a year, doctors could not determine what was causing the symptoms of numbness and tingling in my extremities - and believe me, I learned patience. I learned that sometimes, all you can do is "wait, I say, on the Lord." For someone who prides herself on being "independent", it was sometimes a hard lesson to learn. It was hard to abdicate "control" and wait for God to move and wait for God to answer. But I learned it.
And, even when I thought I learned the lesson, God taught me again. Five years ago, I started to lock my hair. I thought the hairstyle was cute, thought it would be complimentary to my face, thought it would be easy. HA! Again, I learned patience. Not only with unruly, wanna stand up and wave to everyone when I wanted them to lay down flat, locs - but with the unsolicitied comments of well-meaning friends, family members and yes, even total strangers. I had to learn not to slap the hands of people who said, "Oh, just let me touch it." as their grubby little hands were already headed for or (horror of horrors) already in my hair! (Sidebar: OK, I HATE FOR PEOPLE TO PLAY IN MY HAIR! Must be flashbacks from being tender-headed as a child, but the whole idea of someone just running their fingers through my hair - EWWW!) I learned (and continue to learn) patience with my friend who, everytime he sees me, lectures me on the history behind locs and who threatens to cut my hair in order that my soul will be saved for God's Kingdom. Oh, yeah: God taught me patience. And continues to teach me. And mold me. And make me fit for His Kingdom.
I am a little more careful with my resolutions. I am not sure that I want to say that I try to "second guess" how God is going to interpret a prayer, but I do know that when I say the words, "Thy Will be done", I am always interested to see how God is going to work things out and manifest Himself in a situation. Because I have learned, He truly does have a funny sense of humor...