The Process of Developing More Patience

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not the one ahead of you.”- Bill McGlashen

” All men commend patience, although few are willing to practice it” – Thomas Kempis

We all need more patience in this hectic and stressful world we live in today. It seems like the more capacity we have to do things faster and more efficient…the more expectations are raised…therefore adding more stress…which shows up in a prevailing attitude of impatience. You see it everyday in driving in traffic or when shopping at a store. Here are some things I have found most helpful to help us have more patience…

It is so easy to lose the right perspective when we are always in a hurry because we do not leave enough time for delays and interruptions in our schedule. Things like that really sets us up to become impatient with ourselves and others. Here are some things I have found helpful in developing patience in my own life…

Leaving a margin in your schedule can take care of some unnecessary stress. Someone has well said…”Stress is a negative state of mind, It believes everything is an emergency.” Don’t be afraid of adjusting your schedule by postponing and rescheduling some things on your “to do list”. This will give you needed space and time to put your focus on what you need to do first. If you are a “Control Freak” this will be awkward at the beginning, but in the long run this will allow you to function more efficiently and effectively.

Remember how patient God is with you. This is so important for us to realize and act accordingly. Romans 15:7 challenges us to: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Sometimes it is helpful to say a private prayer of thanks to God for your health, your family, a job, being alive today, friends, etc..things we take for granted that God has provided for us. How many times have you been impatient about something small and then… you see or hear about someone else who has so much more difficulty than yourself?

Make allowances for each other. God tells us to: “Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other”s faults, because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2 LB). The reality is that we don’t know about everything that is going on in someone’s life that we can’t see. There can be extenuating circumstances that might be adversely affecting their behavior. Ask God for His grace and strength for yourself when tempted on becoming too impatient with other people. You will be amazed at how He can do that through you as you trust and depend on Him moment by moment.

Learn by Listening. Don’t evaluate without the facts. Listen to the person, ask questions. Listen before you answer. Proverbs 18:13 LB warns us that “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” We can learn and understand so much more if we will really take time to listen. I can not stress enough how helpful this is in staying calm and patient in difficult situations. Ask questions to clarify your understanding but do so carefully and respectfully and then give them adequate time to respond.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Jesus said: “So in everything you do, do to others you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12 NIV) This is the “Golden Rule” that Jesus gave us to guide us in our relationship with others.When we do this, we truly reflect God’s Love and Grace…and we will see for ourselves the power of patience in our lives…

A number of years ago, I traveled two days to attend a large national conference. Because of the long trip, I was late getting to the first session. When I arrived, I had difficulty finding a seat. I finally found one on the second row up front in the center section close to the stage. It wasn’t long until I realized why that seat was available. During the program, whenever the speaker started to make a good point , the man in front of me would stand up an shout “Amen, Hallelujah” real loud while waving his arms. I couldn’t hear and see hardly anything else while he did this repeatedly. The next session I determine to sit in another place, so I went to the balcony. After finding a seat, I got busy looking at my conference schedule as the session began… only to see the same guy sitting directly in front of me again! Oh well, I thought how unfortunate I was to have to go through this again. Sure enough, just as the opening music began he stood up and obstructed my view and all I could hear was his comments. I was getting very impatient and upset until… they had a “Welcome Time” and asked everyone to turn around and greet each other. When he turned around, although I had not noticed before, I discovered he was severely handicapped. God broke my heart right then and there! In that moment, I asked God to forgive me of my bad attitude. God forgive us when our impatience keeps us from seeing people and situations from His perspective.

Forever Friends

This is a photo of me and of my friend Rob. It was taken at a reunion of our old church youth music group several years ago. Rob played the drums, I played the bass guitar some, helped with the road crew and other things back then. In this photo, Rob is holding a little booklet I wrote years ago entitled “The Lord Always Knows What Is Happening”. That title came from a popular saying we heard a lot back in the 1970’s. People would ask “What’s Happening?” And we would reply “The Lord Always Knows What’s Happening!” The reason we would say that was because there were so many answered prayers within our group and on our mission trips and at the concerts during those years. One summer we did a week of concerts in Bridgeport, Connecticut. We performed concerts in the shopping malls, schools and other venues. We had rented a civic auditorium for concerts in the evening. Before we went on that trip, as I spent time praying for it, I sensed that God wanted me to purchase some Bibles to take with us. I was told that would not be necessary because someone else was taking care of doing that for us. But yet every time I prayed, I really sensed that I was to the get some Bibles anyway. At our final concert there, we had over 200 people make a decision to become a Christian! We spent some time praying and counseling with those people. The Bibles that had been previously ordered for them did not show up. We unpacked the Bibles I had brought. There were just enough Bibles for everyone that became a Christian that night! We were so amazed being able to see first hand things that only God could do. We sensed God’s presence in such a wonderful way. That was such an important part of helping me grow as a young Christian. I am reminded of Hebrews 10:35 that encourages us with these words..”So do not lose or throw away the boldness, courage, and your confident trust in God that you had in the past.” I thank God for those experiences when I had with my friends back then.

I really think it we need to realize the importance of forever friends that God has placed in our life’s journey to help us grow in our faith together. They help shape us through their encouragement and friendship. I think about my friend Rob, who passed away unexpectedly last year. He always had a love for music and for people.That never changed through the years. He did so much to help people to experience and develop their love for music. He even volunteered to help kids learn to play musical instruments who could not afford to do so in his community. Rob’s influence lives on in his family and other people who knew him and were touched by his friendship and what he did for them. I am thankful for people like Rob who make a positive difference in people’s lives. I am thankful that someday I will see Rob again at another reunion…that will be in Heaven. I can’t even begin to comprehend how great that will be!

The Bridge Nearby

There is an old bridge near our home. The Harrisburg Covered Bridge was built in 1875, it is the oldest covered bridge in Tennessee. I took this picture a few years ago during a snow storm. Bridges are built to make a way to get us over places that would be far more difficult to travel without them. I’ve often thought how the Lord is like that, especially if we will follow His path and plan for our lives.

Jesus is the Bridge in our relationship with God, He is also our Bridge to help us through difficult times. You have to trust a bridge as you go over it. In the same way, you and I need to trust in the Lord for Him to be the Bridge that gets us through stressful situations. He understands more than anyone else, the obstacles you and I face in life. Chuck Smith has said that “God wants us to trust in Him completely, even when we cannot see any possible solutions.” God is always there nearby, we can count on Him to be dependable, no matter what our circumstances may be. There have been times in my life, that I didn’t know what to do next, or I did not know how I would make it, but I did…because of God’s Bridge of Guidance, Grace and Mercy. One of my favorite Scriptures is “ God is our refuge and strength, a Very Present Help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Sarah Young, popular inspirational writer, describes it this way,” Whenever you feel inadequate for the task at ahead, stop and think about your resources. God is your strength. He is infinite and He never runs out of anything. So when you work in collaboration with the Lord, He will give you what you need to keep moving forward step by step. Refuse to be discouraged by delays or detours. Instead. trust in the Lord…and just take the next step.” Remember God’s promise: ” If you do what the Lord wants, He will make certain each step you take is sure.”- (Psalm 37:23).

The old Harrisburg Covered Bridge has been been trustworthy for the many people who has traveled over it through the years. How much more can we trust in God’s Faithfulness who has stood the test of time for Eternity! Whatever issues or concerns you may be facing today, take the next step by trusting in Jesus to be your Bridge. He is close by you. He is trustworthy and you can always count on Him.

Trusting in God…when Life doesn’t make Sense

Through the years of my own personal experiences and also helping other people through difficult times in their lives, I have seen the benefits of trusting God even when life does not make sense. Why is this happening to me? Why doesn’t God answer my prayers the way I had hoped? Our soul seems to ache and cry out that this shouldn’t happen and it is so unfair. It is normal to have those thoughts and feelings but we do not need to let them debilitate us for a long period of time. It is in moments like these, that we are reminded of the harsh reality that we do not live in perfect world. God knew this and that is one of the reasons He sent us Jesus to be our Savior so we may have the promise of Eternal Life and His peace in the midst of difficulties and disappointments in this life. Even Jesus acknowledged the difficulty in living in an imperfect world when He said “ I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”( John 16:33)

The comfort we are seeking isn’t found in finding the answers to all our questions but it is personally seeking and experiencing God’s presence in the midst of the heartache.This process takes time, but God can and will help navigate you through the uncertainty of the future as you trust in Him. Your path through this, is unique as your fingerprint. You can gain encouragement from His Word, similar experiences from others, but also from other sources that He has uniquely designed for you. It is a blend of all of these, that gives us hope and strength to get through it all. This is how we can trust in God when life doesn’t make sense.

“Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer.” – Romans 12:22