One of the things that I believe I do well is adapt. Especially lately, it seems as if change is an everyday occurrence. In the last year, I have made relationships with people that I wish never to lose. I have lived in multiple places that I can see myself moving back to and I have changed my goals and aspirations a little over a dozen times. There is something about our society that makes us look at all paths and see what we can see ourselves doing. Perhaps it is the first question that people ask you when you meet, “What do you do?” Perhaps it is the constant journey we are experiencing to get somewhere. Whatever the reason, we do this. And I am no exception.

In this awkward stage of life, this stage where I am not entirely certain what’s next, the stage where I am scared out of my mind and completely excited all at the same time, I have looked at a thousand different paths and said, “Yeah. I could go down that one.” From youth minister to anthropologist to FBI agent to vet. You name it and I have probably wanted to be in at some point in the last few months. I feel like I could be happy in any of those places. I could adapt. And I think that’s a good thing.

It dawned on me the other day, though, that adaptation isn’t enough. In fact, adapting, to me, seems like the bare minimum. When I first moved back to The Woodlands, I adapted. I hated my situation but I sucked it up knowing that is couldn’t last forever. It wasn’t until that adaptation turned to passion and love that I was truly happy. When I became passionate about the city where I currently am and when I developed a love for the people and things that God is doing,  I felt content. Content with this season.

Christ did not simply adapt to His surroundings. He did not simply tolerate where He was. He gave His all to them. Heck, He wept over His city and His people, broken and flawed as they were. I am entirely thankful for the gift of adaptation and I pray that it will be joined with passion and love in any circumstance wherever I may be.

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“Patience is a virtue.” This proverb is not a new one. I have heard this uttered and I have even said it myself on several occasions. And as with many virtues, it is not easy to come by. It is truly a cultivated thing that requires practice. Daily. But, it is imperative. To anyone. In any walk of life.

There are two Greek words that are used throughout the New Testament for patience. One is Makrothumia which translates directly to “long temper”. I wish that I could see people living this out daily. Sadly, I don’t. We are an impulsive people, especially when it comes to turmoil. When we are attacked, in any form or fashion, our natural response is to fight, or flight. Flight insinuates fear and so, most of the time, we turn to fight. And we are quick to fight, too. When someone bruises us, we are eager to bruise right back. I look at God, who loves me with a foolish patience. I have hurt him. I have tried to see how life worked when I did things my way. And through that, I have had a God who has waited patiently on my return.

The second Greek word used in the New Testament is Hupomeno. This translates “to abide under”. This is form of patience that is easier to come by, but only when it is convenient. For the most part, we are patient with those that abide over when we think that they should be in that position. Take, for instance, our president. Unfortunately, in the Christian community, I typically see very little patience when it come to the subject of our president and our government. The first thing that comes to mind is to immediately “fix” what has gone wrong. But, God has not called us to fix His earth and His people. He has called us to love them. And He has called us to love Him. He has called us to patience under what we feel are unfair circumstances. This world will not last forever. He has called us to hold on. Just a little longer.

Love, without patience, is nothing. There are nine fruits of the spirit for a good reason. All of them compliment one another. Relationships require patience, faith requires patience, everything requires patience. And sometimes that patience is not the easiest to come by. And sometimes I am inclined to give up, insisting that my sanity is more important than having patience with people and God. But God does beautiful things in patience. He does great things while we wait. When we abide under. When we are slow to anger.

I am horrible at putting my feelings and thoughts into words. When I write, I have this need to sound completely eloquent, which is why more often than not, I choose not to write. Keeping up with a daily Lenten blog last year was a challenge, but it was entirely beneficial. There is something about writing things out that clarifies them. Sometimes, it is not until I reread what I wrote that I see what God was doing. And so, here I am, the first day of Lent, writing the first of forty daily entries.

Over the past several months, God has time and time again reminded me of his many roles. In particular, He is reminded me that He is a provider. About a year ago, when I was preparing for my trip to Brasil, I had a conversation with a good friend. I was telling him that everything completely came together for the trip in an unbelievable way. Funds were completely provided, blessings were given, and the thought of traveling to South America that I had once laughed at was happening. This good news sparked a conversation between the two of us about God as a provider. About how He has always been a provider.

Sometimes, I try to imagine what it was like to live in the Garden of Eden. I think of what Adam and Eve thought and did. When I look at my life today, my thoughts are filled with plans and to-do lists and worries. But what did it look like to not have any of that. To just be. It seems to me that everything we do in this life is always leading up to something. We work hard to get good grades growing up to that we can attend a good college. We try hard in college so that we will get our dream job. Once we have that job, we aim for the top and for more money. There is always something more to be gained, it seems. And somewhere along the way, we begin to think that we are the ones controlling this. We begin to think that we the providers.

But here’s the thing. Since Adam and Eve’s time in that Garden, God has not changed. We have. The same God who provided food and shelter and love in that Garden is still providing those things today. The same God who saw that a man wanted companionship and gave him a woman, is still in the business of giving.

I am in a season right now where I am semi-clueless of what lies ahead. I am excited and terrified and every plan that I once had has completely been thrown out the window. My checklist has been compromised and I am left in a place where I am daily having to ask for direction and guidance. But God is provider. I know that. He is just as eager to provide for me just as He was to provide for his first two children. I think I am going to try staying in The Garden for a little while. Asking and trusting.