Patience Truly is a Virtue
Over the past few months I have been diligently working on my master’s thesis. Every spare moment that I had was designated to this very long paper. If I was not sleeping or working I was at my laptop continuously researching and writing. Working on this paper has taken a lot of time away from other activities, such as spending time with my family or visiting with friends. I became a hermit who lived at the kitchen table surrounded by several stacks of books and articles.
Now, as I am writing this on Palm Sunday, I am happy to say that I have submitted my completed thesis draft to my advisor for review and revision. I find it hard to believe that this part of my journey is over. Once the revisions have been completed I will schedule my thesis defense where I will have to defend the argument to the designated thesis committee. Once they approve it, I will be ready to graduate. These are the last few steps I have left to complete.
What I have gained from this experience is not only how to research and write a formidable argument, but also that I had the ability to learn patience. I have always considered myself to be an impatient person. I do not like to wait on other people and I tend to expect others to adhere to my schedule of time.
One of the first tasks I had to do was to formulate a thesis proposal. This became a very stressful time for me. Most graduate students participate in the thesis process over the course of two semesters whereas I have to complete all of these tasks in one semester. This has placed a lot more pressure on my situation.
In order to continue with my argument the thesis proposal must be approved by the thesis committee. I formulated the document in a timely manner and sent it to my supervisor for revision. We went back and forth during this process and I have decided to call it “ping-pong revision.” He offered suggestions in a timely manner and I responded with the revisions as soon as I possibly could. I am grateful for all the assistance he has given me during this process.
I became very impatient as I was waiting for a response from the members of the committee. My time this semester is limited and I have had to complete everything by a certain deadline that I have had to set, for myself, in order make sure it would everything would be completed on time. The three members of the committee are professors that I have taken classes with as both an undergraduate and graduate student. They have always responded in a timely manner but they were taking more time than what I felt was necessary to review my thesis proposal.
My impatience created more anxiety for me than what was actually necessary. A little anxiety is good, a lot is bad. This led to many sleepless nights and high levels of anxiety. Every night I would pray that my proposal would be approved and I would also pray for God to teach me patience and I would pray for those things in that order. However, the Lord felt I needed to learn patience first and of course He was right. I began to pray for patience more and the Lord instructed me on how to improve on this. Before I knew it, I received an email saying that my thesis proposal had been approved.
Throughout scripture we can see very clear themes of patience. There are many examples of the patience of man. The patience that Jacob exemplified in order to marry his beloved Rachel. The patience Job had in trying to understand what was happening in his life, and so on. Also, Jesus had tremendous patience with His disciples. These are clear examples that we are able to draw from and apply to our own lives.
In 1 Samuel 13:8-14, we read about Saul and how he lacked patience in waiting for Samuel. He was at war with the Philistines and he was waiting for Samuel to return. However, Samuel did not return at the planned time. The longer Samuel was gone led to more of Saul’s army deserting him. Saul was waiting for a blessing from the Lord so, instead of waiting, he chose to sacrifice a burnt offering. Samuel was disappointed with Saul’s action. He told Saul, “You have acted foolishly! Had you kept the command the Lord your God gave you, the Lord would now establish your kingship in Israel forever; but now your kingship shall not endure.” (1 Samuel 13:13-14, CSB) Because of Saul’s impatience he missed out on the Lord’s blessing.
The Lord provides us with many blessings. He also answers our prayers but it is not always in the way we think it should be. If we continue to be impatient then we will miss out on those blessings. Through the experience of writing my master’s thesis I have learned that patience truly is a virtue.
If you are someone, like me, who struggles with patience; ask the Lord to help you in this struggle. When you succeed God will bless you more than you could have ever imagined was possible.