Today, I want to talk about something I am absolutely horrible at. I have struggled with patience my entire life. Whether it’s in traffic, dealing with incompetent people, or waiting for something in a drive thru, I have always struggled with being patient. I know that impatience is a horrible character trait, and I have been working on it for what feels like forever. I know that patience is vital to my success as a father, husband, colleague, and leader. I know that without patience there is a good chance that I will burn bridges and hurt those closest to me. This is why I have been working hard to become more patient.
I have to be honest, I have never met someone who is 100% patient in life. Patience is not something that comes naturally to humans; especially in the instant gratification world that we live in. With everything at our fingertips, we don’t have to wait for much. We can order what we want on Amazon and get it nearly the next day. With new technologies in restaurants, we don’t have to wait in line to order, but instead go to a touch screen and put in our order. Our way of life does not teach us, or encourage us, to be patient.
Why is patience so important? Patience provides clarity of mind. When we are consumed with instant gratification or wanting something done immediately, we get lost in the end product rather than the process. It is through the process that we become better people. When our minds are clouded with instant change or instant gratification, we lose sight of the value found in the process. Here’s a personal example: Sitting in the line at the coffee shop, 4 cars deep and a truck full of children, I have two options. I can either get mad, angry, and frustrated that the line isn’t moving, and I’m not getting on the road sooner, or I can enjoy the time I get with my family. We can play games, talk, and spend time getting closer as a family. You see, the process of getting the coffee is more important than the coffee itself. My mindset shouldn’t be on having coffee and getting on the road. My mindset should be on family and wanting to be closer to them.
Patience provides time for reflection. I have written in previous posts the value and importance of reflection. When we become impatient we miss the opportunity to reflect on our actions, choices, and decisions. Again, in a world that pushes instant gratification, it is critical that we take time to pause and reflect before doing something or saying something. There have been many times that I have had a purchase in the Amazon cart and chose not to purchase it because I reflected on whether or not I really needed it or could afford it at the time. Patience provides an opportunity to consider our thoughts, actions, and choices.
Patience helps us live out our lives with love for others. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2) He also says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (I Corinthians 13:4). And finally, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Patience gives us the right mindset to live with each other in unity and love. In a world that forces ideology and opinions on others, we need to learn the importance and value of being patient; especially with people. Don’t get me wrong, being patient does mean being tolerant (a word I have come to despise), but rather being accepting of others choices and opinions. We don’t have to agree with them, but we should be accepting of them. When we get fired up over differing opinions, we lose sight of what’s most important. People are more important than opinions. We need to learn to be patient with each other.
If you are like me and struggle with being patient, I want you to know that you are not alone and encourage you to keep working to better yourself. I also want to make myself available to anyone who needs someone to talk to and might need positive encouragement. Together we can overcome the perils of being impatient and become better human beings for those around us.
As always, stay humble and serve well!