“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14)
I used to be very impatient. It was so bad that I got frustrated, and sometimes lost my temper if things didn’t happen straight away. I especially remember the time when I was very busy with school, job, and work at home. I was always in a rush and multitasking; so to me, every second lost was a huge deal. That’s how I saw it anyway. The more I did, the more there was to do; and the more I was trying to get everything done, the more mistakes I made. Needless to say that didn’t help with my frustration. I was trapped inside a vicious circle.
If I ever had any patience at all (which honestly, there couldn’t have been much of it to begin with), I was slowly (or maybe not so slowly) losing it. Things had to happen fast enough for my standards… or else! It came to the point where people around me weren’t speaking, moving, thinking fast enough – even my computer was too slow. How very irritating! I was rushing so much when talking to people that I would sometimes only say half of what was on my mind. Then I got really frustrated when people didn’t get my point. I’m ashamed to say this, but the more impatient I was, the more I treated them as if they were stupid for not understanding me. It took me many years to realize that I was actually expecting them to half read my mind! Could I have been more unfair? I ask myself today: “How much patience did all the people in my life back then have just to deal with me?” Now THAT must have been a challenge!
Realizing how destructive my impatience was to me and others and also dealing with some impatient people myself, helped me to want to change. After all, how can I expect people to do something for me that I am not able, or unwilling, to do myself? However, just realization itself wasn’t enough. Sure, it’s a good and necessary first step, but where do you go from there? It’s not like you just say to yourself that you will be more patient and that’s exactly what happens.
I’ll admit, it hasn’t been easy. I started praying to become more patient and because I was so impatient, I expected results straight away. To my disappointment nothing happened. I was frustrated, but being a part of a Prayer Team helped me to be consistent in my prayers. Also, I kept reminding myself that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)
Each time I got very impatient (which came packaged with anger, frustration, and more negative emotions), I tried my best to not be so hard on myself and I just kept on praying. And then I saw that my “attacks of impatience” were actually valuable lessons. Through them God was trying to teach me patience. Somehow that helped me to slow down. One baby step at the time.
While I’ve come so far from the person I used to be, I still have a long way to go. I fail more times than I would like to, but compared to before when I was failing almost all the time, this is a huge improvement. And seeing all the progress I’ve made motivates me to keep doing my best. And even though it seemed like I was getting nowhere, I was actually moving in the right direction, with God right beside me holding my hand.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6)
How can you relate to this and what can you do today to become more patient?