My wife and I spent this past weekend in the world’s epicenter of impatience.
Yet, we didn’t have to be in New York City to realize that we, too, lead a (mostly) hurried life right here in Lakeland – with little tolerance when things don’t happen on our timetable. Isn’t a primary goal of life these days to accomplish everything at a faster pace than the day before?
Life in this instant world doesn’t leave much room for patience anymore, does it?
Wanting everything faster than ‘now’
The benefit of one-hour photo processing has given way to the miracle of digital photography. Not only that, we can also share these pictures around the world, instantly. A K-Cup delivers that morning cup of coffee way faster than waiting on an entire pot to brew. A computer that takes longer than a nano-second to boot up will soon be a dinosaur. And who would take an entire 30 minutes to watch a half-hour television show? With a DVR, we can eliminate commercials and cut the time down to 20 minutes.
Isn’t it frustrating when our GPS maps app doesn’t give turn-by-turn directions fast enough? And when our credit cards are swiped at Starbucks, who has time to wait for a receipt anymore? We can’t hold our horses a few days for regular package delivery, so we use Amazon Prime. Before long, it sounds like we’ll have same-day delivery by drone.
Upon returning from a summer vacation do you really want to get hot under the collar (and everywhere else!) while you wait on your house to cool down? Who has the patience for that!? My wireless thermostat removes this discomfort by allowing me to adjust my thermostat on the way home.
And, for crying out loud, I don’t even have the patience to wait on my flowers to do what nature intended. I push my landscape to get bigger faster by applying bloombuster fertilizers! I want tomorrow’s colors, today.
I can always claim that these and many other wonderful innovations have simply made my life more efficient, providing me more time to invest in what really matters. I can try to convince myself that I’m not inflicted with impatience, but rather, thriving with resourcefulness. But, what a lie.
Surely, you can relate
And how about you? Can I get an “Amen?” A “Like” on the proverbial Facebook page? A fist bump, at least?
Surely you, too, are rife with impatience. In your driving, with your kids, with our spouses, with our aging parents, with restaurant servers, at the doctor’s office, with our downloads, and in just about any line in which we are standing. Again, I’m not pointing fingers, but speaking from daily, personal experience.
Now, back to New York, for a moment – If you ever want to feel better about your level of impatience, spend some time in Manhattan, the horn-blowing capital of the free world. Even my Lakeland-born-and-raised daughter, who now lives on the Upper West Side, has learned that you have to become like a New Yorker to survive there. Don’t get in her way headed to those open subway doors. Someone could get hurt.
And, Mr. Cabbie, don’t make any tactical driving errors on the way to a pre-show dinner across town. And for goodness sakes, don’t venture anywhere near Times Square traffic with Mary Beth as your fare. She was ready to forsake your car and hop in another cab when you turned onto the logjam of 45th street.
My dear, sweet wife even caught the contagion, at times. After finally arriving at the restaurant and waiting our turn at the hostess stand, Susie had just begun giving our name and the number in our party to the hostess, when she was rudely interrupted by a man who wanted his name in first. Big mistake, mister. ‘Nuf said…
Is there a remedy?
So, how do we reclaim a life of patience in these times that are pushing us farther and farther away from it? Frankly, I don’t know. Really wish I could help us all out with this struggle, beginning with me. But what I do know is that we need to figure out how to move in that direction.
I thought Google would be a good start, so I searched, “How to Have Patience.” Instantly, by the way, I received 72,400,000 results. I’m most certain the right answer is somewhere in there, but I don’t have time for that. I really chuckled, though, when one result listed “15 Tips For Becoming As Patient As Job”…and it was on a Zen website!
Speaking of Job, let’s see what the Bible might have to say about patience. Throughout the Scriptures, God clearly describes the value of patiently waiting on Him, of resting in Him, of knowing that good things come to those who wait – along with the admonition in 1 Samuel that a lack of patience can cause us to miss a blessing.
One of these verses, Psalm 46:10, is displayed on a sign in my house – “Be still, and know that I am God.” I need to look at it more often. Then there’s the familiar Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength…” And James 5:7-12 flat-out says, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters…” And, don’t forget, patience is a fruit of the Spirit!
‘Have Patience, Have Patience, Don’t Be In Such A Hurry!’
Consistent meditation on this clear Scriptural encouragement to have patience is a great place to start. It’s not that our speedy world dishonors God, but we know that a life marked by patience, hard as it is, truly honors the God of time.
Be patient and take some time to think through the triggers for your impatience. Like, for instance, when your feet hit the floor in the morning. Then do a search on your Bible app for “verses about patience.” Carve out some time to read and pray. And ask the infinite God to re-order your schedule and re-calibrate the way you approach the finite amount of time you have to accomplish what’s before you.
Perusal. Prayer. And, of course, practice. Lots and lots of practice until we develop this wonderful new habit of patiently believing and embracing the fact that our loving, sovereign God has ordained our days.
In closing, rather than leaving you with the impression that I am chill in comparison to my wife and daughter, I leave you with a quote that was, truly, written for me:
“Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.”
Mr. Steve Wilson is the Director of Advancement at Lakeland Christian School. To reach Steve, you may email him at Swilson@lcsonline.org.
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net