how to practice love in the form of patience

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impatience is an emotion. patience is a skill. like all skills, patience is a life skill that can be practiced until application can be made more easily than when you begin.

the relationships that we invest in are truly rewarding. our hearts hope that they will make us happy beyond belief. talk to a young couple before their wedding day or before the birth of a new baby. the heart is full of expectations for the future. it is when reality meets those expectations causing disappointment that frustration surfaces.

when my daughter was five years old, my husband and i decided that we wanted another baby. it would be three more years before the birth of my son. there was the first expectation that met frustration. we had a timing in our mind and yet there was a long period of time to wait until we received confirmation that we would have our second child join the family. if you have ever planned to start or continue your family only to have reality present an alternative timing, it is heart wrenching, frustrating and painful. once he was born, we were elated. then came the sleepless nights. he did not sleep as well as my daughter had. it was a shock to the system after eight years of normal sleep routines. i would have difficult days of weariness that were trying. we made it through the sleepless nights, finally. then as a toddler, he began too bite other children. do you know how embarrassing and stressful it is when your child harms a friend’s child? this was not going as it had the first time around or the way i had expected. this lovely, beautiful little boy was the delight of my heart but he was trying my patience…in many more ways than i ever desired to endure.

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what was i to do? i was not enjoying those moments i was living. i wanted to fast forward to easier, more enjoyable days, the future seemed so distant and far away…when life as i had hoped it would be would appear.

i was given advice to “be patient”, encouragement that he would get through the stage(s) and things would settle down. we often think another person should find patience easier to conjure up than we do in our own difficult situations. we mean well… we do…but we find taking our own advice impossible when faced with our own circumstances that evoke frustration, anger or pain; a stubborn or distant spouse, a self-destructing teenager, a special needs parent, a bullying boss, or a rude stranger.

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i was irrevocably and inescapably stuck in the moment—my feet were tied to it. had i writhed and hollered as much as i wanted, i was still not going anywhere. i was there. immobile.

the available antidote was patience. it speaks of self-control, restraint, delayed gratification, bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance; tolerance and persevering. it was not my idea of a party that i wanted to attend. yet, it was necessary.

the revelation for me was that patience is a skill, not an inherited trait i happened not to inherit. it leads to relaxation, not self-harnessing. it gives you the freedom to have a pleasant time even when the baby gods are playing with you. it converts the helpless rage of impatience into a delicious sense of spaciousness.

patience creates more space between impulse and action.

impulsiveness causes you to act hastily. patience creates feelings of peace and calm, as opposed to the anger and frustration that often arises with impatience. impatience is on the anger continuum. first, you have irritation, then impatience and then anger and, at the far end, rage. patience keeps your anger turned off.

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so, how do we practice this skill and develop patience? how can we apply patience, so that frustration goes away, outrage cools, and peace is yours?

1. accept that whatever is happening right now is the way it is. accept that you are here, living this moment as it is. coming to terms with reality helps you to focus your emotions.

2. apply persistence. that’s the capacity to keep on going even though you can’t yet see the end result. it’s what keeps us moving toward our goal and thus helps us make our dreams come true.

3. practice cultivating a sense of peacefulness, serenity or calmness in the face of what is. address poor, learned behaviour such as ranting, fretting or working yourself into a frenzy. stop, breath deeply, count to 10 (or 100), or separate yourself from the situation until your emotions return to a calmer state. whisper a prayer or recite calming scriptures. many find repeating the serenity prayer helpful.

4. focus on your goal of healthy relationships and perfected love.

5. focus your effort, energy and skills on problem solving. pursue wisdom in order to find a solution, this will produce a more effective result.

6. trust yourself, apply compassion when you fail at applying patience…practice makes perfect…keep going…all skill development requires time and practice, practice, practice.

today as i planned to write a post on practicing patience, wouldn’t you know, things did not go to plan. i woke not feeling well. i faced a busy work day. and my husband seemed to want me to help him do something every 5 minutes, and in the midst of all that i lost half of the post before i was able to publish it. opportunities to practice will present themselves. it never fails. i had to laugh at myself and my situation…

i told myself, “dee, love is patient…” and i made the 100th cup of coffee of the day as requested and began to reconstruct my post.

patience is the first and possibly one of the most difficult steps to producing genuine love in the heart. it is a skill. if you find impatience surfacing in your heart, do not fear…you can apply wisdom, practice this skill and develop real love…love that will not fail at building strong, fulfilling relationships.

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the next we will explore the fact that love is kind.

i hope you will join me,
D

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How One Moment Helps Avoid Sorrow

20130904-005440.jpgwisdom is a useful key when it comes to life skills. if we want to avoid sorrow resulting from out of control situations when anger flares…practice patience. it really is an effective skill.

love and impatience don’t belong together

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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?

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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).

Or

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.

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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.

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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,
D