“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. ”
~ Joyce Meyer
I have often noticed that when my internal thermostat is not where it is supposed to be, the reason usually lies with impatience. The job wasn’t done fast enough, activities weren’t completed correctly, or someone didn’t listen the first time. While it would be easy to blame my circumstances for my impatience and not take responsibility, the fact is I am to blame. I am the one who has allowed myself to get to this point and I need to have patience.
It would probably be best if I learned to recognize what is affecting me and then take action. Generally, my impatience falls into four categories:
I am running out of time: It often happens that when I cut myself short on time, I start to panic and become impatient. Where did the time go? Why didn’t we get out of here faster?
I have learned over the years to plan well, making sure to give myself extra time just in case there are unforeseen circumstances.
Something didn’t get done correctly: I wish I could say that whenever my kids make a mistake, I gently correct them and show them the proper way to do things. However, that would not be true. I find I get impatient when I have to show them, time and time and time again, how something needs to be done.
The Lord is continually working in this area. How often has He had to show me something, over and over and over again? I am getting better, but at times impatience still creeps in.
Someone isn’t listening to instructions: This one is the hardest for me. I dislike having my children disregard me or not follow through with something given to them. If I ask them to do something, I like it done right away. If I tell them something needs to get done, I don’t want to be given an argument.
I have come to realize when my kids aren’t listening, the fault is mine! I need to be better training them to listen and obey. I also need to make sure they hear my instructions clearly and understand my intentions. With work and time, it will get better.
My pride has been hurt: I think pride is the root of the problem! My pride is a sensitive thing and when my pride is pricked, I get impatient. How dare they not listen to me? How dare they drag their feet or not do it right the first time? After all, didn’t I show them the right way to do it? Why can’t they just do what I want?
I need to learn to take a step back and think things through. Very often, my kids aren’t trying to be disobedient, I have just set my expectations too high. It isn’t their fault when I haven’t planned out our day well or there are unexpected delays. I also need to remember they are young and still learning. In time, they will do things correctly the first time and not need as much instruction. They will come to listen and obey, when they are trained to do so.
I remember hearing once, that if you ask the Lord to give you patience, He will often bring you trials by which to learn it. Why am I then so often surprised when He gives me daily opportunities to grow? I pray as I get older and mature in the Lord, I will better develop patience. That as I learn, I will be teaching my children by example.
Whether it is chores, homeschooling, relationships, or work, patience is a virtue we cannot do without. Knowing my own limits and working through them, will help me to better get a handle on my patience.
“Love is patient and kind;…”
~ I Corinthians 13:4