I can’t believe my month of peace is over already. I think it was my favorite month so far — there were a lot of things that I had to let go of — physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. I wish I was still focusing on peace, actually, instead of moving into patience. As with my other action items, I’m going to try and press forward with them, but I’m sort of sad my focus won’t be on peace specifically anymore.
But onward to patience!
What is patience? I quite like the dictionary definition: “the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.” That second part is the kicker, isn’t it? Without complaint. To take it even further, for Christians it means faith in God’s omnipotence, goodness, and timing. Faith without complaining.
We are not a patient people, are we?
It’s been written about countless times — we are a microwave society. We want things hot and fast. With things being so easily accessible, it makes it very hard for us to be patient. Patience is definitely learned and it’s a choice. Think about newborns. They don’t care whether or not mom and dad desperately need sleep (right Brother and Sister in Law?). They are hungry, and they are hungry NOW. Their wet their diapers and the need to be changed NOW. Spend some time with a toddler. Being patient is not innate.
This is one of those fruits that I do well in some areas of my life, and poorly in others. For instance, I’ve always been very blessed to have enough money to get by, usually more than enough. So waiting patiently to buy things doesn’t come easily to me — I just buy stuff when I want it and that’s that. Make me wait? Be prepared for some complaints.
I have more patience, however, in my day-to-day waiting. It takes me a long time before I’m frustrated with a slow waiter, a mom and toddlers at the grocery store, or miles of traffic (for some reason, this helps with the traffic. I am the problem!). I really hate to be late (I’ve always been extremely punctual, even as a kid), but I’m getting much better at realizing that stuff happens that’s out of my control, and if I’m a few minutes late every once in a while, it’s not the end of the world. This is something I’ve been intentionally working on for years, and I’m finally getting to the point where I’m much happier with my level of day-to-day patience. I’ve even managed to weed a lot of it out of my mind. I used to just censor myself and not say out loud what I was thinking. Instead, I’ve worked to not even get worked up about things in the first place — I think that mental battle is even harder than the physical. Am I always successful? Of course not. But I’m getting better.
Trusting in God for the big stuff is also hit or miss. I trust Him for my safety and my finances and my salvation. But I don’t trust Him that I won’t end up a crazy old cat lady. Definitely have things to work on not only in myself and my relationships with others, but also with God.
Would you consider yourself a patient person? What are some ways you stay patient? Or do you just punch people in the grocery store?