Do you know what a pinion is? Pinions are the outer wing feathers of a bird that allow it to fly.
This word in Hebrew is associated with the word for patience. When we demonstrate patience, we are slow to anger. Sometimes showing patience means we will suffer--maybe even for a long time. These particular feathers on a bird are quite long in comparison to the others, and herein lies the connection with patience: the word long as in long-suffering.
Yesterday I lost my patience with my sons. These men have different internal thermostats than I. Basically, they run hot and I run cold.
These cooler nights in Kentucky have tempted them to open their bedroom window so they can enjoy the refreshing and delicious cold while they sleep in their air-conditioned, icy heaven. Then there is me, wrapped up like an Eskimo, blazing with everything wool, sandwiched in my electric blanket on HIGH, and with Rico (who is blessed with my cold nature) serving as a little hot water bottle beside me--all the while my centralized heating unit is trying to warm the house.
All this to say, I lost patience with them yesterday and vented a lot of hot air (believe me, I had it!) about this issue of opening their window at night when the heat is turned on in the house. [sigh]
But I also surprised myself yesterday with a victory in my quest to show patience. A friend wanted me to tell her how to use the reminder function on her phone. Listen: 28 back-and-forth texts and 1 hour and 19 minutes later, she got it. Several times during this exchange, I felt my frustration starting to rumble (and, yes, I was starting to look like the image above).
I wanted to use lift (exalt myself) and thrust (arrogance) to fly far above and away from her. It's no wonder that one Biblical opposite of patience is haughtiness (Ecc 7:8).
Instead of shutting her down, however, I chose to trim my pinions so I could not take flight and rise above her in this situation. I elected momentary, near agonizing (just google it for crying out loud!), long-suffering at her side (coupled with a few hundred "God, please help me here" prayers) because patience is, after all, what we are wired for and what we hope to be offered when we are in need.
Something miraculous happened when I trimmed my pinions.
After the texting subsided, my freshly severed pinions morphed into the longest and most beautiful flight feathers. Finally, Lord, we had a victory together!
That desire to fly by either making myself taller so my friend would look smaller or by hoisting myself up while putting her down was in that moment grounded.
And guess what? Then I could soar, but this time it was God who was lifting me up! His Spirit became my lift and thrust.
I have given you scenarios that pale in comparison with the bigger life issues like dealing with really stubborn or wandering children, facing a boss day in and day out who's after your head, helping your spouse through a hideous addiction, or mustering the courage to watch a dearly beloved one slowly exit this world. Even showing patience with yourself takes tremendous effort. These scenarios are riddled with strife, heartache, a gazillion changing emotions, and you may be pushed to the very limits of your soul.
Still, I want to encourage you to hold steady. Don't give up. Try trimming your pinions. Try to stay grounded, and let God do the heavy lifting. If we can learn to trim our pinions with the little scenarios, then we will become better equipped to handle trimming them for these bigger life issues.
And remember to always start with a grateful heart--I think it makes pinion trimming a whole lot easier!
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
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