Wow, this word. It keeps coming up in my life, over and over lately. The dictionary definition:
the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation,annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper,irritation, or the like.
an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay:
to have patience with a slow learner.
quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:
to work with patience.
I am struggling with being patient these days. I know it is a virtue, and I know it is what God asks of us. I know these things, but knowing it and practicing it are two very different things. To sit here and wait for something, that I seem to have been waiting for, forever is hard. Really hard.
To wait without complaining. This is something we always tell our girls, “be patient, wait without complaining”. Easier said then done though.
I was at my ladies bible study this morning, and what did the topic happen to be? You got it. Patience.
Priscilla Shier is an amazing teacher, she plays the main actress in the movie “War Room” but she has also written many study guides. We covered “The Armor of God” in our last group, and right now we are doing Gideon. Today the lesson was on patience and that God is long suffering, she gave us a history of all God has done and how He has been patient over the many years. He still is.
It got me thinking about how I can be more patient, and practice it daily. I get anxious over things quite easily.
I am a type A personality to a degree. I like to be in control, I like to know what is coming next. I am however not a regimented person. I can go with the flow, and be flexible as long as I know that, that is expected of me.
In the past, I have gone on several missions trips to Nicaragua. My husband and I led a team of people on these trips and my husband would always remind us. “Be flexible”. So when our translator couldn’t get into the country, and none of our luggage showed up at the airport, filled full of supplies for our children’s programs, and things to give to the people of Nicaragua, we were flexible. We were calm, we waited patiently and eventually, it all worked itself out. There is no use freaking out over something you cannot change.
So I am trying to bring that “Be flexible” attitude over to me practicing patience.
The world we live in today is instant. Everything moves at a fast forward pace. Email, social media, snap chats, periscopes, google. Essentially, all information is at our fingertips. We don’t have to wait for much anymore. However, there is that old saying “the best things in life are worth waiting for”. This is so very true. A marriage, a baby, a great job promotion, vacations, and travelling. All of these things require waiting, and to be content in the waiting you must practice patience, or you can drive yourself crazy!
As many of you know, we are “patiently” waiting to add another child to our family through adoption. We are doing this through the foster care route. We have waited 2 months and 4 days since we got our license officially allowing us to welcome a child into our home. We have had 2 placements not go through, we are currently waiting on the third placement. A precious, brand new baby, not yet born.
Just when I think OK the end is very near of this waiting game, God threw a wrench in our plans. We got another call about a sibling set and we might be getting that placement instead of the baby (who I already bought a special “going home” outfit for). So with this new bit of information, I am going back to my “be flexible” mantra.
My anxiety has risen, and my patience feels like it is wearing thin, with all the unknowns. I crave the peace and calm that comes with patience and want to push out the anger, and frustration that impatience provides.
So here is what I am actively working on in order to practice my patience.
Space between impulse and action. My impulse right now is to say to these people, “don’t you know this is my life, these are my family’s lives that you are so casually holding in time. So many maybe’s, and what ifs. Just get organized and give me an answer!”
I know I need to bring my anxiety level down. Breathe. Think. Count to 10. Reassess before I take action. Wait. Wait. Wait. Distract. Distract. Distract.
If I cannot practice patience, how I am supposed to pass that character trait on to my children. I am always telling them to be patient. Be patient while I make them a snack, be patient while I clean, so I can play with them after. Be patient when dealing with their friends. Patience is just as important a child, as when you are adult and the issues you need to become patient about are much more important than a snack.
Often when we are called to be patient it is because immeasurable blessings are coming our way. I am focusing on that and excitied for what the future will bring.
If you have any tips to help practice patience, please leave a comment below!