Lord Give Me Patience! We’ve all prayed it. And if you’re like me, you’ve prayed it many times – and impatiently waited, fingers tapping, for an immediate answer.
A friend on my website encouraged me to write a blog post about patience and immediately I thought, “Oh Sweetie, you’ve got the wrong girl!” I am not a patient person, but I am getting better. In fact, I’ve come a long way on many levels, and have a way to go on others. Perhaps those of us who are still learning and dealing with this issue are the very people who need to talk about it.
You see, we like to have our issues firmly behind us before we discuss them. We want a tidy list of proven solutions. And we certainly don’t want people to see our imperfections. Well, I freely admit, I struggle with patience. But there are some things that I have learned, and many others that I am working on, so what do you say we tackle this one together?
Here are the facts:
I’m a wife and mother.
I’m a leader.
I expect a lot of myself.
I firmly believe in justice.
If you share any of these statements, you may already be tracking. For me, all of these blessings can also easily and quite suddenly become the diving board from which I spring forward and sink deep into the abyss of impatience.
In our marriage and with our children, we naturally fall into our most vulnerable, impatient, and agitated selves. With the outside world we at least try extra hard to appear to be calm and at peace while inside the impatience is eating us alive – but our family tends to get the raw, unabridged truth. And because we sincerely want the best for them, when we don’t see that, we sometimes allow frustration to get the best of us.
• Determine that the people we love most will get the absolute best from us. That means we must fight against that impatience harder with them than with anyone else!
As a leader, I am always striving to create the best of everything. The best team possible. The best product or outcome. The best culture and work environment. The best results without missing a deadline, objective, or goal. And it is my responsibility to set the example. But as a leader I also must realize that I am not perfect, and neither are the people I am blessed to work with. Nothing perpetuates discouragement or crushes creativity like impatience!
• Before you allow your impatience to impact your team, begin by asking the right questions. Remember, things are not always as they seem.
I do expect a lot of myself. Many of my struggles with patience stems from my lack of it for myself. And when we expect a lot of ourselves, we typically expect much from others as well. Expecting excellence is important but expecting perfection (of yourself and of others) is unreasonable.
• Do not expect perfection – give yourself and others a break.
Justice is extremely important to me and when I see injustice toward me or toward others, I have very little patience for it. But the world is not just, and my impatience doesn’t solve anything – it only adds to the tension of the environment.
• Don’t fight injustice with impatience – instead counteract it with relentless love.
Above all remember that you do have patience! It is a fruit of God’s Spirit so when you have Christ in your life, He gives you what you need to cultivate patience. You aren’t bound by your personality or your natural state!
Patience develops and grows like a muscle. It requires practice and lots of flexing. Trial and error. Forgiveness of ourselves and others. Then more trial and error. So, trust and lean on God and try these suggestions for yourself, then be sure to share any other ideas with me. I can certainly use the help.
Okay, Lord — a little more patience every day…here we come!
– love, Ginger