One of the sayings that we used in the Army was “hurry up and wait!” It is quickly learned from day one of Basic Training. It comes from the fact that when you move from point A to point B in the Army you move with a purpose. You go nowhere slowly or dragging your heels. The Drill Sergeant continually yells, “hurry up, hurry up” so that you can get there quickly only to stand in line and wait.
This pattern is repeated in our lives daily. We rush to the grocery store on our way home and find ourselves waiting in line to check out. We rush to get to work on time to find ourselves waiting at every stop light along the way. We rush to the doctor appointment only to be told “please have a seat and wait for your name to be called.” We rush to our favorite restaurant and are told, “the wait time is 15 to 20 minutes.” The truth is, our lives are made up of hurry up and wait patterns. We all know this and most of us have learned to expect and deal quite well with the waiting periods in life. Patience in waiting is all about our expectations and self-talk while we wait. I wrote about that here.
However, when it comes to being patient with people, we sometimes lose our patience! Lack of patience with family members, friends, co-workers, employees, and supervisors can cause major stress in our lives. Here are a few tips for growing in patience with others.
Three tips for growing in patience with others.
1. Embrace the reality that your life’s journey is about sharing in the multiple journeys of the people that are around you every day. A life of meaning is a journey that includes others lest we go through life alone. Imagine what would happen if everyone you were impatient with was suddenly removed from your life to spare you the aggravation. It wouldn’t take very long and you would be free of those people who try your patience. In fact, you would be free of people altogether. Alone.
2. Look for the good in others. It’s easy to judge the motives of another person’s heart, but it’s easier to misjudge. We often get irritated at others when we think their motives are wrong. However, if we look for the good in others we can just as easily imagine that their motives are right. The fact is we can’t judge another person’s heart, only God can do that. Anytime we take the position of God in the life of someone else, we are setting ourselves up for frustration.
3. Slow down. It’s difficult to always try and keep up with someone, but it’s even more difficult sometimes to slow down and allow others to travel with you. If you are overly driven in life you might have a tendency to pull everyone with you rather than letting them walk with you thereby creating impatience within yourself. Slow down and allow people to join you in your life. Henry David Thoreau said “The man who goes alone can start the day, but he who travels with another must wait until the other is ready.”
Keep REACHING FORWARD for God’s best in your life! Be patient with yourself and others! It’s all about how well you value the relationships of those around you. God is patient with you and me. We ought ourselves to be patient with everyone!