Patience in the Messiness of Change

Good afternoon from Managua, Nicaragua!

Nicaragua has taught me many things. This has been one of the great yet sometimes challenging blessings of the past two and a half years. The closer I get to the end of my time in Nicaragua, the more I realize that change does not happen quickly and tends to be messy. While I may have learned this fact by coming to Nicaragua, I only have to look at my own life to know it is true.

My life is full of moments of change that took far longer than a moment to reach. The truth is I often tend to forget this or block it out from my memory. I think this is often because it feels better to remember the snapshot of when the change happened than the movie of what it took to get there. However, the reality is they are not mutually exclusive. The sometimes long and messy process is a necessary part of change. This means that change requires patience.

Patience is easier said than done, but it should not be based on the patience we have been shown. In Psalms David writes, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8) You see, God, the creator of the earth, is incredibly patient with us. Instead of abandoning us while we are struggling to change, he shows us compassion and love. Thankfully, God understands that change can be messy and take time. I am incredibly grateful for this truth and have been the recipient of God’s patience many times in my life.

It is in understanding the patience that we have been shown that we can find the patience to walk through the process of change with others. When change becomes messy and takes longer than we think it should, we only need to reflect on God’s attitude toward us to gain perspective. Change is messy, but it is worth it. God knows this is true. Do you?

– James Belt

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