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.”
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!
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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?