The Practice & Power of Patience
Our culture is in serious need of PATIENCE.
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
It seems as if everyone is angry or upset about something these days. No one wants to wait for anything. Delays of any kind are not well tolerated by most people. We glorify the idea of an extravagant or self-indulgent lifestyle. We see trouble and suffering as a terrible inconvenience that should NEVER occur to "us." Trouble and suffering should only be visited upon "them."
Our craving for a lifestyle free of troubles and suffering has caused us to turn our backs on the very virtues brought about by undergoing adversity. One of those virtues is patience.
Everyone wants to be an "overnight" success. We watch people who have attained great heights of success and admire them. But I have noticed that we tend to celebrate the "success" of youth more. Stories of the "kid genius" circulate like wild fire. The news media holds it up for all of the world to see. "Look at this young person. Aren't they fabulous?"
The translation is "Don't you feel like an inadequate loser for not being a smashing success at 16?"
What we fail to appreciate in our culture are the millions of successful people who patiently work away for decades making incremental progress. They are not flashy. They typically do not promote themselves. They would likely describe themselves as "hard workers" and not geniuses.
In Dr. Thomas J. Stanley's best-selling book The Millionaire Next Door, he describes the traits and attitudes of thousands of "everyday" millionaires.
“Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and, most of all, self-discipline.” ― Thomas J. Stanley, The Millionaire Next Door
To put it bluntly, they do NOT subscribe to the concept of "get rich quick." In other words, they are patient about how they approach building wealth. The fact that "hard work" and "perseverance" is mentioned here is significant. You don't persevere or work hard on anything that is EASY. Hard work and perseverance are needed when you expect to meet obstacles, delays, frustrations, disappointments, trouble, and suffering.
Your goal for following this blog may not be to "get rich." But you are here because something in your life is not working for you. Your goal may be to improve a relationship or simply grow and mature as a person. Beloved, I am here to tell you that relational work and self-work is infinitely more difficult than simply attaining wealth. There are no shortcuts. This will require patience.
So, how do you practice patience? I wish that I could say it was easy. But what I can do is tell you where to start.
The Practice of Patience
Becoming patient requires you to practice patience. Patience is just like a muscle. The more that you use it, the more it will grow.
You can start by identifying an area in which you are the most impatient. Maybe it is while driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Or maybe it is with a particular patient. Identify the area where you are quick to lose your cool and "fly off the handle."
The next step is to develop a strategy on how you will handle this disruption the next time it occurs. Here are some methods I have used to overcome frustrations in the moment.
Take a deep breath (inhale slowly, hold for 3 seconds, exhale slowly).
Recall a good memory and imagine every detail of it.
Tell yourself "This is a minor inconvenience. I can handle it."
Imagine the person you are frustrated with has just received a terminal diagnosis or lost a closed loved one.
Imagine the face of someone you really love and respect coaching you through this moment. What would they tell you to calm you down?
The goal with these simple strategies is to switch your mind out of frustration mode and into a space where you accept what is happening and see it correctly as a moment in time. "This too shall pass."
The Power of Patience
As you begin practicing patience, you will notice a shift in your energy. You will begin feeling less anxious and stressed. Impatience is the top producer of stress in our daily lives!
Practicing patience will calm our mind, emotions, and spirit. This calming effect will shift you into RESPONSIVE mode rather than reactive mode. When we are in reactive mode, we say and do things that cause disruption and upset in our lives. When we are in responsive mode, we are making very conscious and intentional decisions. Our actions switch from being random, rushed, and knee-jerk to being intentional, purposeful, and rational.
Intentional, purposeful, and rational responses will change the direction of your life. You are no longer living "random" and "in the moment." But, just like the millionaires next door, you are taking small steps everyday towards your purpose and the release of frustration and anxiety.
Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:4, Holy Bible
It is my desire that you will live a WOW life - Whole, pOwerful, Well. Take the gift of patience for your journey.
P.S. I am on a 40 Day Soul Fast. I encourage you to join me in reaching for your purpose in this process. Click on the link below to purchase your copy of Dr. Cindy Trimm's book. Start at March 1 reading my posts.