Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
“Patience may be the trait we are most lacking.” Pastor David Alexander, First United Methodist Church, Mansfield, Texas
The other day I was listening to a previously recorded sermon as part of my quiet time. The above quote convicted me to the point I knew it was time to do something about my lack of patience because I don’t always display this beautiful trait. In fact, I think I usually fail in the patience category. Frequently, I’ve been short with my husband and kids. I’ve been impatient in traffic and people standing before me in line. I’ve been impatient waiting at the doctor’s office. The list goes on, and on…
Although we live in an instant gratification culture it doesn’t mean we have to live like everyone else. I decided it was time to develop this very necessary skill. What is patience and how can I develop it? Dictionary.com tells us patience is “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay and the ability to bear provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.” The word willingness is key. It means I have control. I also noticed where the word patience is in the Love Chapter. Notice 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Patience is an act of love.
Now the question becomes, “How can I develop patience?” There are probably dozens of suggestions, but these are the ones I came up with:
- Recognize that there are some things you simply cannot control.
- Recognize the things that make you act on impulse, and either avoid them or think about the reasons for your reactions
- Look at the other person’s point of view
- Slow down and practice delaying gratification.
- Think before you speak. It may be as simple as counting to 10 before your respond.
- Ask yourself, why are you in such a hurry? Will hurrying change anything?
- Identify triggers that make you feel impatient and plan to avoid them.
- Remind yourself that things do take time.
- Remember that for every minute you are angry, you lose a minute of joy and peace.
- Create space or margin in your life knowing that you will need the extra time to deal with the inevitable.
How about you? Do you have any suggestions for developing patience? I would love to hear from you.
Blessings on your day.
Image: Google Images