Who Me, Patient?

Are we there yet?” This is the infamous cry coming from the backseat of any car filled with excited and, at times, impatient children.

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Where might they have learned this trait? If we were to be honest with ourselves, I am sure we could easily recall moments of irritation and under the breath comments resulting from a delay in instant gratification. How quickly we show our annoyance when having to wait. We do not always practice patience and often do a poor job training our children this same virtue.

Living in a fast-paced society, people expect instant gratification. We like our food fast, our packages expedited, and our communication unlimited. Society is ruled by time versus having dominion over it like we were originally intended. There is no lack of time in the kingdom.

According to Webster, “patience is accepting pains or hardships calmly or without complaint.”

Being patient means waiting without complaining. If I am busy complaining about the long lines, traffic, and the way others do things, then I am not demonstrating love. In recent post I have shared about my journey towards becoming a more loving person. It is my desire to understand what love looks like and to live from this place.

1 Corinthians 13:4 “LOVE is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in LOVE.”

Gary Chapman in his book, Love As A Way of Life, defines patience as “accepting the imperfections of others.”  We are all in the process of growing and maturing. Throughout this process, I often find it hardest to be patient with myself. Consequently, this results in less patience for others. I like what William Gurnall said, “Christ bears with the saints’ imperfections; well may the saints one with another.” To combat this I have been intentionally giving myself permission to be patient with myself. Surprisingly, as I have practiced patience, I have experienced greater peace and joy.

Five things I am intentionally practicing in order to become more patient:

  • I am choosing to be more patient with my imperfect self.
  • I’m learning to let little annoyances stay small.
  • I try to use words in a softer tone that are both uplifting and kind.
  • I remind myself that people are imperfect and in their own process. This helps me stress less.
  • I do my best to listen to people with a goal of understanding versus agreeing.

We love others to the same degree that we love ourselves. I held myself to such a high standard of excellence and performance that I wrongly sought the same in others. My self talk and negative thoughts were also a good indicator that I had little tolerance for my imperfections.  Condemning words such as: “I can’t believe you did that again. That was so dumb. You’re a total mess up. You call yourself a Christian?” As you can see, it is easy to become your own worst critic.

Instead of buying into the negative self-talk, it is beneficial to look at how far you have come and recognize the growth.  The more I intentionally do this, the less anger is able to rule my heart and the more I am able to see myself through the eyes of perfect love. This revelation spills over onto others and allows me to freely share the love that I have experienced.

Share some ways you practice being patient or share a story where being patient affected others or an outcome.