I’ve always had a problem with patience. Maybe we all do. We see things from our own perspective. It’s easy to wonder why someone else doesn’t see it the same way as you because it’s hard to climb into their shoes…or brain. So, sometimes I pray for patience which is a scary thing to pray for because it doesn’t just magically appear. Heavenly Father gives you some trials which will help you to learn the lesson you are asking for.
I’m not complaining about that. We certainly learn the lessons better and they last longer if we learn from experience. But I do get a little afraid of what’s going to come.
So I have been in need of some patience and the patience I often lack is patience with other people. And yesterday I prayed for it. But to my surprise I prayed for it in a different way than I had before. “Heavenly Father please help me to have patience and be kind as I know that you have had patience with me throughout my life and will still have patience with me in the future.” As soon as I said those words I felt a warmth spread through my body. A confirmation that that is the right way of things. To treat others as we know that we have been treated by God. To love others as we have been loved by Him.
But that wasn’t all. Yesterday was a class on patience.
I went to visit a friend and she was talking about her problems with patience. But hers are different than mine. She hates to wait. She wants everything to happen immediately. I get that. It’s hard to wait. You want to get through the current project or job or crisis and be done with it so you can relax a minute. But the current project needs to be stripped and then sanded and then stained and then coated and you can’t rush any of those steps. And the current job depends on other people doing their part and you can’t move forward until that is finished. And this crisis is meant to teach you something or other – often faith in the Lord – and so it can’t be rushed or you’ll just have to go through it all over again.
So I was thinking about these things yesterday and I had a little lightbulb moment that I know was inspiration.
There are essentially two kinds of patience. The first is with other people like our children or people we work with or people we just encounter in life like at the grocery store. We often seem to be able to be more patient with strangers than those who live in our own house and this may be because we expect more of the people we know and love. But we are trying to become more and more like Jesus in the way we act and treat others.
NeaL A Maxwell said, “Unlike our love, Jesus’ love consists of active restraint as well as pressing encouragement. His perfect love of each and all spares Him the need to accept us as we now are, for He knows perfectly what we have the possibility to become.”
The second kind of patience is patience with time. When I think of being patient in matters of time or timing I think of waiting but in the April 2010 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”
So here is where my pondering got me yesterday. Patience with people around us has to do with love. The love we have for each other. The charity we feel in our hearts for our fellow men and women. If we are lacking patience then we need to increase in love for that person. Look at things from their point of view in the best of our ability and then ask for help from God.
Patience with time or timing has to do with faith in God. It has to do with how well we trust him. If we are feeling impatient to get on to the next thing we need to look and see what we are meant to learn from the situation that we are in. Sometimes we need to learn to slow down, sometimes it is about practice so we can improve our skills and sometimes there are even harder things to learn. Here again prayer is key but this comes down to our love for God and our belief that He wants the best for us and is trying to get us to be our best selves.
In the end is it all about love. Love thy neighbor as thyself. WE need to love ourselves and try to see ourselves as God sees us and then look around and all of His children who He loves as much as He loves you and me.
In 2 Peter 1: 4-8 Peter is speaking about how to become like Christ.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
There is our instruction book. Begin with faith, then be obedient in keeping the commandments, add to that study and prayer, then self control which brings us to patience, then increase in spirituality and reverence for God, then be kind to all around you which develops into Charity which is the pure love of Christ.
It’s a life-long pursuit and patience is at the heart of it.