Every mother has a pet saying that drives her kids crazy…until they grow up and see the truth in it. Mine was “Patience is a virtue; cultivate it.”
That statement drew more than its share of eyerolls when they reached their teens, but my favorite response came from my daughter when she was eight. We were running a little late getting out the door for the 35-minute drive to school from our house in the country. As I was trying to get my kids to hustle, my daughter turned to me as we were about to rush out the door.
I knew I’d made real progress toward teaching her what was important when she said, “Patience is a virtue, Mommy.”
And she was right. Hearing my own wise words in that sweet little-girl voice helped me remember how important it is that what we say and the way we act are consistent.
Patience doesn’t come easily to me. I’m a type-A sort of woman, and that’s both a strength and a weakness.
By nature and by training, I see a goal and work hard and fast to reach it. But sometimes that can come at the cost of not treating people the way God wants me to.
Jesus’s most important command to his followers is that we love each other. Not the kind of love that depends on how the other person treats us. Not an emotional kind of love. It’s agape love, the kind of love that’s an act of the will, not a feeling of the heart. Christian love is described so beautifully in Chapter 13 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Cor. 13:4-5 (NIV))
The characteristic mentioned first is patience, and that’s key to some of the others, like not being rude and not getting angry easily.
At least for me, patience isn’t natural. But it is one of the fruits of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I want to live that way: patient, kind, and self-controlled. When I do, I can brighten the lives of the people around me.
I want to be a light to make the path easier for the people whose lives I touch, not a roadblock because I’m too impatient.
When patience is wearing thin, how do you get it back?