Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Patience is not simply the ability to wait – we all have to wait. Patience is how we behave while we’re waiting.
We live in a world of fast food, speed dating, and overnight delivery. Instant gratification is valued over long-term wellness. The world tests our patience. It really does.
- We wait in long lines to pick-up the kids at school.
- We deal with impersonal telephone mazes when we call the insurance company.
- People always seem to be late.
- The store has 18 cash registers available, but only two are open.
We can respond in one of two ways:
- Reactions like frustration, irritation, and anger
- Or patience
Paul says that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It is grace. God’s gift. It can only be accepted. It doesn’t come by willpower or strength – it comes through prayer and practice.
Patience is needed in three areas of life:
Self. This is growth. You are not perfect. So stop trying to attain the unattainable. And don’t play the comparison game. You will lose every time. Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself a second chance. Learn from your mistakes. Laugh at yourself. It’s fine if you are not where you want to be. Just figure out a few next steps and start taking them.
Others. This is grace. Nobody else is perfect either. You can demand perfection from others, but you will be disappointed. Being patient with another means accepting them as God accepts you. Their world will be better because of your patience, but you are the primary beneficiary of practicing grace. Long-Term, it is a lot easier, more rewarding, and certainly more fun encouraging and supporting than it is belittling and criticizing.
God. This is faith. Instead of telling God your plans and your schedule, spend some time listening to God. Give up control. You might as well because you are not in control anyway. Trust in God’s vision, God’s provision, and God’s timing.
Come to think of it…I’m not surprised when God describes love…the first word He comes up with it patience.
The best is yet to come…