I’m Losing My Patience – 6 Ways To Rediscover Patience

April 2, 2013 — 22 Comments

As a kid, I can remember a few times when my Dad’s fuse was shorter than normal.  Especially when he was tired and under a lot of stress, his patience would grow thin, and he would become frustrated and somewhat angry as my brothers and I would push the limits on what he could tolerate.

Overall, my Dad is a great father, and I’d honestly be honored and blessed if I could pick up half of his qualities.  He’s a leader.  He’s wise.  He’s extremely intelligent.  He’s caring.  I could go on.  But if I’m honest, I hoped I would miss out on his occasional short patience “quality.”

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Well, I’m afraid that didn’t completely work out.  The other night, Leanne said to me, “I think you’re getting more impatient as you get older.”  Whoa!  First, she’s calling me impatient.  And then, she’s calling me older!  Maybe she’s right.  By the end of the night, my tolerance for horsing around diminishes, and I can often tell that I’m losing my patience.  It’s not a feeling I completely enjoy.  I don’t want to be grumpy or to be known as the “wet blanket” in the house, so I need to find a way to restore my patience levels.

Here are several ideas that come to mind for bringing patience back into my life.  Maybe, they’ll help you too!

  1. Recognize that patience come from God.  According to Paul in Galatians, patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience (or forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23
  2. Pray for patience.  Many would consider this to be a dangerous prayer.  I’m not so sure.  If true patience comes from God, doesn’t it make sense that we should ask for it?  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8
  3. Learn the things that cause us to lose our patience.  Maybe it’s lack of sleep.  Maybe it’s financial stress.  Maybe it’s pressure at work.  It’s important to learn these causes, so we can come up with a plan to combat the problems.
  4. Take counter measures.  If it’s lack of sleep – get more sleep.  If it’s stress – find ways to eliminate or alleviate the stress.  Running is a huge counter measure for me in the battle against stress.  When I get regular exercise, my patience tends to improve.
  5. Get someone to watch your back.  Use a friend to keep your patience levels in check.  I’m thankful that my wife would call me on the carpet about my patience.  I need people in my life who build me up and who help me deal with some of my “demons”.
  6. Ask for forgiveness.  On the rare occasion when my Dad would lose his patience, he would come back and apologize.  He would ask for forgiveness if he had somehow wronged on of us.  We’re not perfect.  Not one of us gets it right all the time.  We all make mistakes.  We will lose our patience.  Admitting failure can be a positive step in the healing process and in STRETCHING us towards the personal growth we need to pursue.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13

Do you struggle with patience?  What helps you when you lose your patience?  What thoughts can you add to the list above?

Jon Stolpe

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, engineer, manager, runner, blogger, sax player, group life fan, freelance writer, and the list goes on...
  • There are times I struggle with patience, Especially lately with the stress of work and our major move. One of the things that has made my patience fuse shorter than normal is the lack of communication that abounds. No one seems to know what’s going on until it needs to be done. Then it needs to be done immediately. So at least I’m recognizing what’s causing the short fuse…

    • What steps do you need to take to improve the communication?

  • Like you, I tend to lose it the later it gets in the evening. It’s tough.

    • How do you combat this tendency towards evening impatience?

    • I’m glad to hear I’m not alone 🙂

  • Carol Peterson

    I have oodles of patience with other people. But as I get older, I’m starting to realize how little time I have left to get all those monumental things accomplished in this little life of mine. Therefore, I laughed out loud at your comment that #2-your wife called you older! I’m sill laughing! Turning 60 this week has jerked me awake.

    As to my “running out of time” impatience, I work on praying a LOT and then specifying the goals that are important, writing out the step-by-steps to get them accomplished, working diligently on them and reviewing/revising/crossing them off regularly.

  • Jared Ewing

    Right there with you. It’s a tough nut to crack.

    • Like I said to Larry, I’m glad I’m not alone.

  • Talking in depth with my mentor about this actually. Hopefully we have it all figured out by next week.

    (That last part was a joke…but really I wish I could)

    • Let me know when you get it all figured out. I’d love to hear what your mentor has to say about it.

  • Norman Stolpe

    Tired and hungry or facing an immediate deadline draws down my patience.

    • I hope you don’t mind me using you as an example. Yes, I think food impacts my patience levels as well.

    • Tangry, Hangry, or the dreaded Thangry.

  • Lulu

    I am pricked by your comments as the lack of patience is one of my biggies. I too have noticed the lack increasing with my age. I think, for myself, it is because more issues are attached to me. When I was younger I found it easier to be patient – children are learning, the aged are slowing down, life is long and I have time to “let it be”. Now, as I face health challenges and so much of what I can do depends on others, my patience runs thin around incompetence. It is one thing for a child to mess up – they don’t know better, but a professional? Rudeness, intolerance, lying, discrimination, lack of empathy, taking advantage – they will set me off. Also I find that as I have aged I have found my voice. Youth came with the thought of being inexperience, that perhaps we didn’t have the full picture, best not to speak out. Age has brought experience – and I know that things should be different – and I no longer feel I should have to tolerate it. BUT – I do need to be aware of how my inpatience is viewed – and how it may cast a negative shadow on the Lord. So I will continue to pray for patience and wisdom to know when to use it and when not to.

    • Lulu, your comment reminds me of a verse from James that comes back to me again and again…”Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

  • David

    I definitely struggle with patience. I have a 12 year old, my last 12 year old was 8 years ago. Age plays a big factor. If the situation allows I will just walk away for awhile when my patience reaches a breaking point. After a patience lapse I need time and reflection. I ask for forgiveness often. The big challenge is catching myself before my patience breaks. I’m really glad my family loves me …..

    • Me too…! Seeking forgiveness is such a great place to begin the healing process.

  • I wishing was as patient with my own kids as I am with other people’s kids.

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