I laughed when I saw the prompt for today. "How patient are you?" it asked. Anyone who knows me probably knows how impatient I am. The number of times I went behind my mother's back as a kid, because I couldn't bear to wait for my schemes to come to fruition (and also because my policy was generally ask for forgiveness instead of permission)... let's just say one of the first things I learned about myself is that patience does not come easily to me.
It hasn't gotten much better as I get older. If I've been arguing with someone, I find myself panicking if I can't resolve the conflict immediately. I still struggle with the childish impulse for instant gratification (though I'm convinced that one of the greatest things about being an adult is that, if you just really need that frosty, you can go buy it. Right away.) Just last night I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning because I wanted to finish writing the script for my devised project, even though I knew my mind would be clearer if I waited until morning. As much as I have learned about being an adult, patience is still one of the hardest things for me to learn. And the hardest part of learning patience, as an impatient person, is that you have to be patient and wait to learn patience. It's enough to drive a person crazy!
Because of all this, I know patience will be something I continue to learn for the rest of my life. And yet there are a lot of big picture things about my life that I've already been forced to learn patience in. I don't have a long term job yet, I don't have a spouse, I don't even know where I will be living after December. Learning to be patient as these things become clear is hard, but it's also a privilege. There is joy and excitement is knowing that my place right now is transient, exciting, and full of possibility. God has been graciously teaching me to enjoy the ride.
And I'm also beginning to see the benefits of being an impatient person. I can stand to learn to be more patient, and will continue to do so. But I've also realized that, with the right balance, being impatient can be a good thing, because it gives me the urgency to be a doer. I am motivated and thorough when I have a project on my plate. As I grow in patience, I can also grow in appreciation of this assertiveness, and learn to find the balance between the two. Life is not about growing into an extreme, but into the balance between two opposites. Here's to being given the patience to learn to be patient!
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
Eugene H. Peterson
The Devil in the White City
Peter A. Pitzele