The need for patience seems to be everywhere in the last few months. Restaurants and stores are short staffed. There are long wait times for appointments for services or certain supplies. The need for patience is growing however many of us, myself included, are not naturally patient. So as more and more patience is required there are a few things to help us grow in patience and understanding.
Recently I completed a study of the book of James. One of the questions was to look up the definition of patience and write it out. When I found it, I noticed the definition included tolerating distress, frustration, provocation without anger or disrespect. So, I guess eye rolling, foot tapping, and loud sighing are not considered patient. Keeping this in mind what are some ways to reset our minds and behavior to reflect true patience?
One of the easiest ways to become more patient is to accept that I have no control over the situation I’m impatient with. Many of the scenarios we become so angry and impatient over we have no ability to change. When we are left enduring a minor hardship or a major hardship one of the first questions, we can ask ourselves is, “Do I have any control over this?”. When the answer is no, is our emotional response of impatience, anger, or provocation right in this current situation? In rare instances it will be, but many times it will not.
In a situation I don’t control usually it’s not personal either. Taking myself out of it, and the perception that this is a personal insult or slight will make it much easier to respond with patience. If waiting in line for coffee is taking a very long time and I can see the coffee shop is short staffed it’s not about me. To become impatient with the long line and lack of available help won’t benefit me. I can see that I have no control over the staffing, and that the lack of being able to order and receive coffee is not personally directed at me.
So, when I know I don’t control a situation, nor is it personally about me I can choose how to respond. I can bring light, kindness and understanding to people who are (often) on the receiving end of other’s impatience. In this I can, “let my light so shine before men so they see my good deeds and glorify my father in heaven” (paraphrase Matthew 5:16). I can also choose to use my waiting time to enjoy those I’m with, my family or friends. Instead of eye rolling, foot tapping and sighing I can laugh. I can ask my kids about their day. I can savor together over waiting.
Patience is one of the traits admired by many but displayed by few. Let’s be patient with each other, with situations we don’t control and even when we don’t feel like it. Together let’s work to be truly patient even when provoked or inconvenienced so that we may be a shining light in a very dark world.