Galatians 5: 22-23 says: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things
This is a continuation of our series on the fruits of the Spirit in crafting. You can find the other posts under this page: Fruits of the Spirit in Crafting.
So the next fruit in our series is patience.
Can I say that this is probably the least favorite of all the fruits? Love isn’t easy but at least we all love people. Joy is wonderful. Peace, yeah, I can hang with that. But patience? Patience means that I have to make myself do something. Wait!
How many of us are good at waiting? When you see a line a mile long at the DMV or the post office does it make you tingle in delight over the prospect of standing in line? How do you like being on hold? How do you feel when you want something done now and you have to wait for others to do their part before the task is finished?
Yeah. Waiting is not easy.
Waiting is a little easier when something good is at the end, like a ride at the amusement park, or a nice dinner that takes a while to cook and the smells are driving you crazy. Having patience takes on a new dimension when you love someone also. How many parents have we seen sit up all night with a crying infant or with a sick child? Sure it’s exhausting and you can get frustrated, but waiting for the end result makes all the difference.
It’s the same way in crafting. I once crocheted an afghan that took several weeks to finish because there were a bunch of motifs involved. In my younger years, I loved to crochet afghans, but as I got older and busier, I only crocheted afghans once in a while. Before crocheting this blanket, I was not a big fan of granny squares either, but as you can see, the pattern is loaded with grannies and other motifs. But I thought the pattern was perfect for the people for whom I was crocheting the blanket.
So, I hunkered down and began the blanket, one square more than 80 times. In the middle of making the granny squares (and frogging many of them), I remember wondering why – exclamation points and several other bits of punctuation, if you know what I mean – I was doing this. I also muttering more than a few times, “I can’t wait until this is done!” I also remember the feeling of satisfaction when I could say that the blanket was finished and spread it out for my family to see.
Crochet and all other needle and yarn work, is slow craft. It’s like the Slow Food Movement, which involves cooking from scratch and locally sourcing where your food comes from. Slow craft is the same thing. We take time to make something rather than buying it. We are intentional and deliberate in choosing our materials and we enjoy the process as well as the finished product.
For my project, I chose a soft acrylic so that it would be easy to wash. I also chose a yarn that was made in the United States in order to support my home country. I chose to make a blanket, rather than buying one because I wanted to put time into my gift to make it more special. These are the elements of the slow craft movement.
Crafting slowly is a good way to learn patience. Yes, I struggled with it during this project, but when I was mindful of it I slowed myself down, took a deep breath and learned to enjoy what I was doing. I also found that I liked making granny squares more than I thought. Crafting with a quiet spirit also gives you time to pray and think about others, especially for the people to whom you are giving the finished project.
But why is patience so important? Why is is one of the Fruits of the Spirit?
God is patient.
Patience is important because God is patient with us. It is worthwhile for us to allow the Holy Spirit to develop patience in us so that we can show God’s love to others and to experience God’s love for ourselves. It is also good for our minds and bodies. Studies show that impatience can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. It can also lead to anger, anxiety and stress. As modern Americans, impatience is deeply ingrained into our culture. We don’t want things now. We wanted them yesterday. It’s difficult to overcome that mindset, but God can do it if we let the Spirit work.
The reality is that most things take time
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that most things in life take time – growing up, pregnancy, growth of crops, harvest, change. Because of this, I am convinced that God did not rush through creation in 6-24 hour periods. Creation shows us that God actually took a great amount of time developing our earth and us in order to come out with something that was truly pleasing. And God saw that it was good, Genesis 1 says several times. Since God did not and does not usually rush, and takes time to do things, we should try to slow ourselves down as well. Try asking God to develop patience in you. You’ll see an example of excruciating slowness right away.
The Point is to Be Like Jesus
The entire point of the fruits is to let God live in us so that we can be like Jesus, show God’s love to others and overcome sin in our lives. As I read the Gospels, I see that Jesus was very patient. How else could he handle the hoards of people who constantly wanted his attention and his healing. How else could he handle the dullness of the disciples? How else could Jesus go to the cross, hang there when he didn’t have to and then actually die without patience?
Like I said earlier, it is worthwhile for us to allow the Holy Spirit to develop patience in us so that we can show God’s love to others and to experience God’s love for ourselves. It may take a long time; we may feel like we will never get there, but the journey is worth it because God walks beside us.
*Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Stained glass window at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, depicting the Fruit of the Holy Spirit along with role models representing them, i.e. the Good Shepherd representing love; an angel holding a scroll of Gloria in excelsis Deo representing joy and Jesus Christ; Job representing long suffering and patience; Jonathan showing faith; Ruth, gentleness and goodness; Moses, meekness; and John the Baptist, temperance. Executed by Hardman & Co. in the 1870s.