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.