It is worth mentioning that young leaders have zero idea how to be patient. We want to tackle the world as we learn about it. I know much about patience only because I was the chief of impatience as a new convert. Even after God spoke to me and told me to slow down and learn, I still had doubts and anxiety about what was next in life.
It is funny how a young, growing leader’s mind always defaults back to impatience. In 2009, I was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 7th round, despite suffering a serious injury my last game in college. During the 2009 season, the week of the Dallas Cowboy game, I broke my ankle and was later released by the team. I was at a low point in my life and soon the impatience crept back in. I began wondering what the heck God was doing and why he would send me 3,500 miles away from my home on the west coast only to get shipped back only one year later. I started asking the same questions again. “What do you want me to do, God?” “Should I move to a city and go to seminary?” “Maybe I should get a regular job and help at a church?”
It is funny how a young, growing leader’s mind always defaults back to impatience. No matter how much God tells us that he is in control, we desperately want to have a look behind the curtain just to see what’s happening. To finish my story, I worried for a few days about what I should do, then a team called me and I was off to the next city. God always has a plan.
Scripture mentions our patience several times in scripture. It is overtly mentioned over 20 times and is eluded to quite frequently as well. In particular, the Apostle Paul harps on the idea of patience frequently through out his epistles:
1. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” (Gal. 5:22 ESV)
2. “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”(Col. 1:11 ESV)
3. “I therefore… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience…” (Eph. 4:1-2)
4. “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…” (Rom. 2:6-7 ESV)
5. “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Rom. 8:24-25 ESV)
In the last verse, Paul really hits the young leader hard. We as a Christian must place our hope in a God that we do not physically see, and so we cannot expect to know every single thing that God has stored for us. It is not possible. The Lord has things planned that are far beyond what our finite minds can fathom. The bible does not overtly say why we can’t know exactly what God is doing, but it does say that if we believe in God, we must have full trust in him. Full trust means we are ok with not knowing everything he is doing all of the time. In essence, being a Christian in general requires patience.
Impatience with God is a sin to be repented of. Ultimately, impatience is an eagerness to get to the future before God is ready to present it to you. We can go as far as to say that impatience may be an expression of a control idol that one may hold deep in their heart. Control idolatry is the desire to rule over our lives instead of allowing God to. If we possess this idol, we get anxious and stressed at the thought of the future if it is out of our control. If we are experiencing a job change then we freak out at the idea of not knowing what will come next! If we are not sure whom we will marry, we can begin analyzing every woman in sight, wondering if they are the one. And if we await our jump into ministry, but pace back and forth worrying how it will all unfold, then most certainly we may have a control idol. The bottom line is, we either trust that God is sovereign over our lives or we don’t. If you cannot rest in God’s sovereignty, then your impatience is causing you to place your own peace of mind over God’s great developing plan for you.
(This is the first post in a 10 part series called the “Good Leader”. Check back for new weekly installments.)
Eddie Williams(Twitter: @realewilliams) is a Christian, a husband and a father, and public speaker, he also leads a ministry as a pastor, called REACH, a young adults ministry at his home church. The 5 year NFL veteran (Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks) speaks weekly at the ministry and has spoken across the U.S. at high schools, colleges, conferences and ministries about a vairety of topics, including leadership, health and faith. Eddie has been a part of numerous programs for youth, including NFL Play60. He has also given back to the community at organizations like the Cleveland Foodbank, Feed My Starving Children and Veterans hospitals. He has also been featured on SiriusXM radio and ESPN Outside the Lines. For more on Eddie, visit: Eddiejwilliams.me