“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Saint Augustine
Imagine this if you will. Your elderly grandma asks you to take her to the grocery store because she doesn’t drive. You already know that this little shopping trip will be more than just an in and out ordeal (as you would prefer it to be) but because you love her you agree to take her. 2.5 hours later you are finally in the check out isle ready to leave. You pull up the car, gently assist her into the vehicle and frantically throw the bags into the backseat. In her soft, precious voice she asks, “Kristen, can you take me… and I have to also go… and can you drop this off at…” With a grin that appears to be a smile, you patiently say, “yes, grandma. No problem!” In the meantime you have 5 missed calls, an appointment to get to across town and a snow storm is heading your way. You prepare by reminding yourself this is great quality time with grandma and all of the sudden quality time turns into stress and rushed time. Grandma doesn’t know it because you want to make her happy but inside your stomach is turning because you have so much to do in so little time. When it’s time to drop grandma off at the house, you unpack all her bags, throw the items in the refrigerator and she says, “Oh no Kristen! I forgot toilet paper.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in this situation. It’s funny to look back and think about all the times I lost my patience; waiting for someone to pick me up and they were 30 minutes late (and yet they were doing me a favor), sitting in traffic yelling at the cars in front of me (when they were just as late as I was), staring at the clock in class because I just wanted to get out of there (but yet I was paying money to be there), changing subjects mid conversation with someone because I had heard the story 10 x already… I could definitely keep going!
When I started to understand how toxic impatience can be to relationships, it forced me to think more deeply about how I approach daily tasks and interactions with people. Contrary to what I wanted to believe, impatience is a major personality flaw. Impatient people appear to be more frustrated, insensitive, overbearing and sometimes arrogant. People who are impatient often interrupt others, walk at a speedy pace, always appear to be on edge, rushed and stressed. I know this because I have been there. In fact, I have to remind myself often to practice patience because impatience is such a strong personality flaw that I do have. However, a lot of my impatience is internal that builds up from stress. I let it manifest in my gut and eventually it comes out in the form of a negative attitude towards others. Can anyone else relate?
I have so much respect for someone with a lot of patience. Dictionary.com says patience is an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay or to endure discomfort without complaint. Patient people have a quiet and calm demeanor, they steadily persevere, are even tempered, great listeners, maintain composure when faced with difficult situations and tend to be more emotionally stable people. I think a lot of us could agree that we often fall into both categories depending on the situation. And while writing this, I had to ask myself which category I would fall into most often. Just like everything in LIFE, patience is a skill that needs to be learned. Here are some things I do to ‘slow down’ and practice patience:
- Go for a walk or a run – great anxiety and stress reliever
- Read – specifically scripture or books that focus on personal development
- Call a mentor or friend – sometimes you just need to vent
- Help/serve someone else
- Listen to audios or uplifting music
Some of you may have children or a spouse and that requires even more patience 😉 so you may have different strategies than I do. But I am sure all of us could stand to work on our patience and find ways to slow down. Check out how patient this amazing dog is for this cute little boy who just wanted to stop and play in the puddle:
Too cute, I know! But we can learn a lot from these little guys too. Relationships are important to me and I believe impatience can be most detrimental when it affects our interactions with others. We have such great examples in the-life-business of men and women such as Orrin and Laurie Woodward, Chris and Terri Brady, George and Jill Guzzardo and all of the LIFE founders who practice patience with humility and grace. They live by the principle in scripture, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
I hope that you will join me in the development of patience as we venture out into a hurried world and affect change in the lives of many people.