This has been a hard month.
I knew it would be.
Humility was hard. But for me, patience has been harder.
It seems like I’ve been challenged and come up short again and again. So, if you’re struggling with where you fall on the patience scale, you are not alone!
Here’s a quick recap of the month. An all in one place reminder of things I need to remember when I’m short on the patience I need and that the people around me want.
9 Things to Remember about Patience
1. Patience is proactive – When I’m frustrated with myself or someone else my typical reaction is fight or flight. Anger or quiet passivity. Sounds passive/aggressive doesn’t it?
That’s why godly patience is proactive.
Dr. Judith Orloff wrote – “Patience doesn’t mean passivity or resignation, but power. It’s an emotionally freeing practice of waiting, watching, and knowing when to act.”
Rather than fight or flight – true patience waits on God’s timing, watches what God is doing, and knows when to act.
And that takes staying close to Him through time spent in prayer and in the Word.
2. Patience starts with remembering how patient God is with me – Like every other character of faith, patience begins with a vertical relationship to God. His patience in and through me makes me want to be more patient with others.
And why is God patient?
Because it’s His character. He simply is . . . loving and patient.
Like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, God is watching and waiting with love and patience for His children to come home.
3. Patience is hard when my problems are big but it is possible – If you live long enough, you will face big problems in a relationship, with your health, your job, or your finances.
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33
I am always humbled by Paul’s list of troubles in 2 Corinthians 11 only to read a few chapters later:
Don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18
God’s faithfulness through past problems gives me courage when life is hard and my problems are big.
4. Patience through small daily annoyances challenges me – Every spouse, parent, coworker, commuter . . . okay anyone who interacts with someone regularly knows that’s when patience gets tough. And it’s not just people, things like the internet going down, an appliance breaking, or an unexpected mess . . . those are the things that really try my patience.
Patience in the dailies takes practice with determination.
So give yourself grace, celebrate every success, and do better tomorrow.
Decide that with God’s help you will be patient today, and if this day doesn’t go well—you will try again tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that.
5. Patience with impatient people. Ugh! – This is where I need the most work. As a firm believer that “nice matters” when someone is impatient with me I bristle.
“Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.” ~C. S. Lewis
I need to keep that post close and reread it often. Whew! Some things are just easier to write about than to live.
6. Patience can be hardest at home where you need it most – No one can try your patience like the people with whom you live.
I’m the least patient with my family when I’m tired or I don’t feel well. I’ve learned it’s important to get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and stay active to think less about myself and more about my loves.
I want to keep their buckets full through positive interaction. The 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative is a minimal goal for us to have a patient happy family.
7. Patience is impossible unless I change the way I think – I know it’s true about happiness, peace, satisfaction, contentment . . . AND patience. Self-focus will defeat me.
It’s hard to love God and others well when I’m self-absorbed, but that’s where I live . . . in my head. Thinking about me just comes naturally. For you too?
Changing my thoughts so I’m God and others focused is Holy Spirit work. I simply cannot do it on my own. So, I’m praying:
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
8. Patience seems impossible when I’m angry, but it’s not – It’s normal and often, even accepted to vent when we’re angry. But Jesus said:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
I found 7 specific things to do when I’m angry. My goal is to apply them consistently. The best part, it’s easier when I remember to “stop, breathe, and pray.”
9. Patience, when God’s answer to my prayer is “wait,” needs a plan – Not a plan of how to get my way, but a plan of things to do to keep moving forward in faith.
I want completely to trust God’s goodness. I want what He knows is best for me. This means I need to accept that sometimes God’s best for me means allowing Him to mold me through a season of waiting.
Living outside of God’s will and timing is never a plan for long-term peace and joy.
From your comments this month, we all agree . . . patience is NOT easy nor does it come naturally. In big things and small everyone is challenged by the need for patience.
I am no exception. Wow, I’ve been reminded of that big time this month.
So I will keep moving forward. I will keep praying for God’s help and guidance. I will stay aware of things that trigger impatience and prepare in advance. I will do my best to get enough rest and take care of my health.
I will remember God’s gracious patience with me and do my best to offer that same gift of patience to the people around me and the situations I come up against.
Remember—“Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty, or annoyance without getting angry or upset.”
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