I have been waiting; Waiting in vain; I have waited until I am tired; I cannot wait any longer; You ask me to be patient; Don’t you know? Success has its limits; I have come To the end of the limit Of my patience. I can wait no more.
If your heart goes for me,
Let me know at once;
The way to go will tell me so;
Be patient with me;
Otherwise, what is love?
If it lacks patience,
Call it something else;
If you love me,
I will easily know;
Real love is in words,
That into action easily turn.
And from your patience
It can be known
How deep is your love.
Fluctuating fortunes; Could that be the best way To describe What is happening To me? Today, the scale is up; Tomorrow, the scale is down; Today, there is reason To smile; Tomorrow, there is reason To frown; Smiles and tears alternate Like in the game of Hide and sick; Yet, hope is never lost; I remain optimistic, That better things are On the way coming; It is a matter of patience; Time will do what it should.
Don’t forget the time It takes To build a mansion; Maybe not a hut, But a mansion; You can build a hut In one or two days; In short, You can build a hut In a very short time, But when it comes To a mansion, Be ready to be patient; Be ready to struggle; Be ready for the discouragement You will get; To which you must not succumb; To give in will mean No mansion; It’s like a great life; You don’t build a great life In a day or a week or a month; Not even a year or two; It takes time and hard work; A lot of hard work; Patience, persistence; A lot of time.
Have you ever taken the pizza out of the oven two minutes early because you just couldn’t wait? Or left lines that were barely moving, only to get into an even slower one? Or breaking up a good healthy relationship because you weren’t sure where it was going, and couldn’t stand the uncertainty?
We’ve all been impatient and we’ve all made rash decisions when impatience got the better of us. Then again, we’ve also been overly patient at times, sticking with projects, jobs, or relationships long after it made sense to do so.
Eventually, there’s this thought on which will cost us more in life—patience or impatience? Of course, different people will have different answers. The ideal outcome would be, to get it right every time we let our impatience lead us when changing course makes sense, and to stay on the course when that made the most sense.
Unfortunately, no one gets it right every time.
Now, here’s the thing: If we understand our impatience better, it will give us more control to get it right more of the time. Below are three useful insights about our impatience:
1. Impatience Come With Goals
Impatience is triggered when we have a goal and realise it’s going to cost us more than we initially thought to reach it.
For example, if you sit in a room with nothing on your mind, you will not be impatient because you’re just there. Now, if you decide to go to a shopping mall to buy a pair of new sneakers, you have adopted a goal. At this point, you are not impatient yet, but you might be making ways towards it. Suppose you want to get a pair of new sneakers by the end of the day, the longer it takes for you to find them, the more impatient you grow.
Whenever I start writing my next blog, I usually think it will take about two days to have everything ready for it to be published. I’m on schedule, but then I get an even better idea for a blog. I realise that continuing to write my first blog is costing me the opportunity to work on my second more interesting blog. You’ve guessed it. At that point, I start to grow impatient.
Or lately, it has been snowing here and it would take me ten minutes extra to travel home. There were several interferences and traffic jams which made me have to wait outside in the cold. Then I realised that it was going to take me more than just ten minutes extra to get home. I was already impatient, and I grew even more impatient.
2. Impatience Motivates Us To Reduce Costs
At the same time, impatience motivates us to reduce the costs of reaching our goal or to switch goals. When we realise it’s going to cost us more than we thought to get to our goal, we start looking for ways to avoid the additional costs in time, pain, distraction, or opportunity.
“It’s a heritage from our evolution,” says Marc Wittmann, a psychologist at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology. Our impatience made sure we didn’t die from spending too long on a single unrewarding activity. It gave us the impulse to act.
So, Instead of direly walking around in the shopping mall looking for a new pair of sneakers, we can turn to our mobile devices to shop online; when writing one blog while dreaming of writing another, I might try to speed up work on the first, or just set it aside to work on the more interesting idea; knowing how terrible the traffic will be on the following days, I start looking for alternate routes or simply decide to work from home.
Unfortunately, the fast pace of the current society has thrown our internal clock out of balance. “Time stretches,” Wittman says. “We get mad.” It creates unrealistic expectations that can’t be rewarded fast enough, or rewarded at all. When things move slower than we expect, our internal clock even plays tricks on us by stretching out the wait, summoning anger out of proportion to the delay.
3. Impatience Increases With More Options
Any project we do is bound to have its downs. There will be moments when we feel optimistic and on top of the world, and others when we doubt the project will work at all, especially when there are more options to choose from. In general, the more options we have, the more we lean towards impatience. If we have only one project to work on, we can be fairly patient and just solve the problems as they come.
In contrast, if we have several other projects we could be working on, we’re much more likely to abandon the current one when it gets hard. If we repeatedly do this when a project gets hard, we will find ourselves with a dozen unfinished projects lying around with nothing to show for all our effort.
To have options is good, but having too many can be bad. Barry Schwartz explains in the “Paradox of Choice” that having too many options can make it more difficult to choose in the first place. This can result in more regret and a greater tendency to change course after the choice has been made.
A Better Chance To Find Balance
When we understand how impatience works, we can manage it better. We can put our impatience to use when it’s time to speed things up or change course. And we can learn to calm our impatience when it makes more sense to stay the course.
Here are some questions we can ask ourselves when we find ourselves growing impatient:
What is my goal?
What is going to cost me to reach this goal?
What are foreseeable additional costs?
What are my other options?
Do I have too many options?
Do these options reduce the costs of reaching this goal?
Is it time to abandon this goal?
Knowing how impatience work will give us a better chance to find balance, so we can stay the course or change it when it makes sense.
4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
Notice the words used by the dictionary; ‘pains…trials…provocation…strain…opposition…difficulty, and adversity.’
The price of patience is far more than momentary irritation at being delayed. It is the price of pain, trials, and adversity.
In other words, a truly patient person will be one who endures suffering, and that is a reality all seek to avoid. It makes patience the hardest of virtues.
The Patience of Job
The quintessential story of profound patience is the account of Job from the Old Testament. Traditionally, if someone says that another “has the patience of Job,” it was considered a compliment.
The meaning behind this is that because Job stoically endured great suffering, he exhibited great patience. However, a mini-exposition of the book of Job reveals that patient waiting has a different character than we might believe.
Chapters one and two set the stage. God gives permission for Satan to test Job’s faith, and Satan proceeds to destroy all that Job has or loves.
Job literally sits on the ash-heap of his life in apparent silence for the next seven days. Then, in chapter 3, Job comes to the end of his silence by cursing the day he was born.
His ‘friends’ who had sat with him in silence then speak. For most of the rest of the story, they trash Job and claim he must’ve sinned grievously or else these bad things wouldn’t have happened.
The End of Job’s Patience
Job refuses their judgment and defends his wish for God to end his life, as well as defending himself against the charges of his companions. The bulk of Job’s defense is not to excuse himself but to cry out pleading that God explain why this is happening.
Finally, after several pleas and complaints by Job to God, and rebukes of Job by the others, God responds beginning in chapter 38. The Divine words mark the end of both Job’s patience and complaints and hold the key to how patience is indeed a virtue.
Chapter’s 38-41 feature God seemingly scolding Job for his complaints. Job’s words in chapter 42 reveal that he recognizes his ignorance in the face of his suffering.
…Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Job 42:3 [ESV]
Job suffered grievously and that caused him to question his faith in God’s judgment. After God spoke, Job repented of his complaints and humbled himself before God.
The LORD speaks after Job’s repentance and provides us with a crucial fact about patience.
After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7 [ESV]
What was the biggest difference between what Job’s friends said and what Job said? The three friends talked to Job, while Job addressed God.
True Patience Results From Faith
When the statements of Job’s friends are examined, they contain basically two things. One is a condemnation of Job and the other is a defense of God’s seeming judgment upon him.
When Job speaks, he is also saying two things. He defends his character and directs his hurt and questioning to God.
In other words, Job talked to God, while the others just talked about God. That is the difference of faith.
Real patience is not simply waiting on God; it is waiting for God. It isn’t to ‘let go and let God,’ it is to let go and seek God even more in the middle of trials and suffering.
Author Philip Yancey explains it this way in his book, “Disappointment With God,”
…the more important battle, as shown in Job, takes place inside us. Will we trust God? Job teaches that at that moment when faith is hardest and least likely, then faith in most needed.
Patience is a virtue because it places faith in what the LORD is doing for His ultimate purposes, even when it involves suffering for us. It puts God on the throne of life and kicks us off of it.
That was a lesson Jesus taught while on earth all the way to His own suffering for us on the cross. He trusted and followed God the Father patiently and would not remove Himself from suffering He knew would come.
Patience is a reflection of faithfully turning to God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6 [KJV]
A Great Example in the Midst of Loss
I preached many hundreds of sermons in my 20 years as a pastor. I have listened to many times that amount of messages in my life.
One message touched especially moved me and it is appropriate to mention it here for it exemplifies patience applied in the midst of great sorrow. The late evangelist and pastor E.V. Hill preached this as his wife’s eulogy.
I have listened to this many times and each time brings me to tears. I urge any who suffer trials today to hear this, for it is a great example of real and righteous patience.
May the LORD bless you and keep you faithfully patient in and through every trial now and forever. Next time we will look at the virtue of Kindness.
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001 The Holy Bible, King James Version, Public Domain
“Disappointment With God” by Philip Yancy, Zondervan, 1988
Top image courtesy of Jim Surkamp’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset image 1 courtesy of artjouer street art’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License Inset image 2 courtesy of Maltz Evan’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset image 3 courtesy of Art4TheGlryOfGod Photography by Sharon’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
To make things snappy;
Will make us happy;
You are lucky
To know your duty;
It is a pity;
That people are so itchy.
If your dream is excellence
I thank my daddy;
He taught me to be steady He also made me aware,
That I must beware;
The danger of distraction
And that of temptation,
They slip in unannounced;
And also unnoticed.
You are asked to be patient; and told that the patient dog eats the fattest bone. I don’t know if that is always true. I think one should not be too patient. At times you have to lose your patience. The dog that is too patient may find no bone left.”
Crying cc to master a situation;
The situation calls for patience;8
A real good challenge for me;
A test of my patience;
And my ability to rise above anger;
Has your patience been tested
Of recent been tested?
Have you had occasion to rise
Challenges are part of life;
Anger cannot be escaped;
But it can be managed and controlled;
And stopped from controlling us;
And causing damage;
I am learning to control my anger;
And to be patient;
Do you have any tips?
I shall be delighted to learn.
Do you take time to do the things you do or you do them in a hurry? While some people take time to do whatever they do, other people never do. They are not patient. They are impatient and do things in a hurry. The following story is about doing things in a hurry. It is worth reading:
Lady Crow did not see any sense in working so hard to build a nest. “I can build a nest in a very short time. Why trouble myself?” She asked herself. So saying, she went flying about and enjoying herself; after which she collected a few straws and rapidly made her nest. It was not a solid nest.
When the time came for both birds to lay their eggs, they did; and soon began hatching them.
Shortly after, a heavy storm came and easily blew off Lady Crow’s flimsy nest, but could not blow off the strong and solid nest of Lady Sparrow. Lady Sparrow’s nest and her fledglings were safe while Lady Crow lost everything.
What lesson do we get from this? Do you know a similar story you like to share?