relationships engulf the biggest part of our lives. can you think of how many of your activities involve a relationship in one way or the other? the most important to many of us is family. add church, friends, work, school, community and strangers (store clerks, bus drivers, joggers, and more) and it doesn’t take long to fill a day. Relationships enrich our lives but they can also try our patience.
interestingly enough, when i was searching for the best description i could find for love, i found nothing better than 1 Corinthians 13.
wouldn’t you know, the very first description was that love is patient.
it would be very easy to read over that word and think, ” oh, isn’t that nice.” we are not going to speed past this word today…we are going to stop and consider it…think it over and decide what we can do with this. after all, it is wisdom. by now, you know how much i adore wisdom.
imagine a thermometer. a temperature gauge. how would you measure your patience level? if you are like me, you might imagine that you are pretty tolerant except in a few instances.
what would be your patience level in these situations:
1. you are sitting in a traffic jam, it’s hot, other driver’s are honking and trying to cut in front of each other.
2. you are waiting in line at the bank on a busy Friday afternoon and there is only one teller waiting on customers.
3. you have had a busy day. You just want to eat dinner when you get home but your spouse thought you were bringing it home with you.
4. you are late for work, the keys are lost. the kids have a hundred questions about when you are leaving? your spouse drove the car last and can’t remember where the keys are.
5. you have a stubborn elderly parent who relies on your care.
6. your boss seems to always be in a bad mood and you catch the wrong end of the stick continually.
actually, it’s not difficult to conjure up a list of frustrating examples, life is full of them. our patience gets tried right and left.
love is patient.
love never gives up.
love endures long.
what exactly does it mean to be patient?
a good ole google search renders this definition:
1. bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.
2. marked by or exhibiting calm endurance of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance.
3. tolerant; understanding: an unfailingly patient leader and guide.
4. Persevering; constant: With patient industry, she revived the failing business and made it thrive.
5. capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.
6. capable of bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance: “My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries” (Laurence Sterne).
1. enduring trying circumstances with even temper
2. tolerant; understanding
3. capable of accepting delay with equanimity
4. persevering or diligent: a patient worker
we live in a world where patience is no longer a virtue. with technology, we no longer have to wait for “snail mail” (even the slang name indicates…it’s too slow to use). my husband gets a bit agitated if he drives through McD’s and they are slow getting his order to the window. he likes to watch the timer above the window and 2 minutes is too slow. really? i’ve been warning him about the 2-3 hour wait for a table at my favourite American restaurant on our next visit home. i’m going to enjoy watching him practice his patience. ☺
an impatient person never wants to wait for others, or does so with great reluctance. an impatient person feels angsty when things do not go to plan. an impatient person usually feels a great sense of urgency to get things over with and to move on to the next thing, the next task, the next place, the next stop. he/she usually has little regard or interest to what’s going on at this moment in time, because in his/her mind, he/she is already thinking about what he/she has to do next.
our patience is challenged when we are faced with circumstances out of our control, when there is a lack of planning, when our expectations are not met, when we don’t have a clear understanding of the situation and when there is difficulty with communication.
i don’t know about you but there are plenty of opportunities that come my way in all five of these areas.
personally, i was most impatient when i lost my keys in mornings. i was always trying to get one more load of laundry done, or dinner in the crock pot before work. i was not consistently organized so my keys could be any where…which meant, when i was in a hurry…there would be a lot of yelling at the kids and my husband. not a good look. it’s not helpful for building good relationships either.
the underlying problem for me was my perfectionist tendency. this tendency was a driving force in my life that often threw me into chaos and my impatience would end up sky rocketing.
my husband is a what I call a “yapper”, a “chatty cathy” type personality. he loves to talk like no one i have ever known. when we were first married he would wake me at 3am because he was awake and “needed” to talk. he becomes very impatient if i take too long to make my point when we are communicating. he already has his next thought formed and can’t wait until it’s his turn to talk again. Lol. my temptation to be impatient having to listening non stop all day is often pressing but i’m getting better at being patient everyday.
wanting what we want when we want it. this desire repeatedly manifests itself as a constant feeling of impatience, a source of self-pressure (in an unhealthy way), and an annoyance at things that stand in your way. these are negative, tension-filled, and fear-based emotions which have no place in our lives. impatience is an emotion that has no place in our heart. it is destructive.
as a result, many of our relationships become strained and begin to break down. this result is seldom a favoured goal.
colossians and hebrews tells us that we can exercise and practice patience. when i was growing up, the members of my dad’s congregations would declare, “don’t pray for patience because tribulation works patience.” we’ll, who wants to invite,much less pray, for tribulation to come into their lives. there seems to be enough of that without asking for more. so, the common result would be that impatience would continue to rule. problem NOT solved.
i think we should look at the idea of practicing patience and explore how to develop this skill. i invite you to join me tomorrow for a little practical exploration. let’s look at replacing impatience…the emotion that has not place in our heart…with patience. this wisdom might just help develop stronger bonds of love and improve our relationships.
please join me again on this journey as we look at what love is and how to develop genuine, life changing, never failing love in our lives and relationships.
as always, get your friends and family in on the adventure and share this post with them. together we can make A Difference in our circles of influence.
see you next time,