Entry 73: Patience
Throughout my years of learning, one of the life lessons that continues to remain true is the notion of praying for patience, which, if you do not already know, is a double-edge sword.
In a simple message during a sermon, a pastor mentioned that those who prayed for patience should be careful, because God would grant them opportunities to be patience. In a nutshell, you are not granted more patience, but rather you encounter more events that will test your patience so you can develop a deeper sense of said patience.
Kind of the opposite, right?
Well, according to what I was taught, patience is one fruits of the spirit, which must be learnt, not taught. So how do you learn patience in stressful scenarios that make you want to rip your hair out?
For example, imagine that you work hard at your job and you genuinely give it your all, but no one notices your hard work? You slave away all day, even clock in early, and the people next to you are getting the same paycheck, if not more than you, but they do less work. Imagine if others just stood around and conversed all day while you did your job. They are getting paid to do nothing! Is this fair? How patient is your temper?
Imagine if you work with someone who has an immense amount of talent, but they squander it all on meaningless endeavors that causes them stress, which indirectly causes you stress? What if you tried to motivated and encourage them in a more meaningful direction, but they take your advice as insulting to their name or work? Ho much patience do you need before you stop helping them?
Imagine if you are teaching someone to contribute with a group project, but they cannot understand a simple task? You teach them a different way, and it turns out they understand, but later they keep messing up or forgetting to do their part. As it turns out, they could care less about the outcome of something that others depend on you finishing. How much patience do you have for someone who is unwilling to care?
Imagine someone who you look up to or expect great things from continues to dismiss your assistance? You try to help them, but they disregard anything you say. Or what if they started doing something that was counterproductive or annoying, but they could care less if it bothered you. How much patience do you need before you start giving them a taste of their own medicine?
Well, after your day is ruined and it seems like everyone is trying to demoralize you, how can you learn to have patience from all of this? If everyone is testing your patiences, you will lose it at some point, got off on a screaming rampage, and no one wins. So why pray for patience in the first place?
From what I have learnt over the years, patiences is a gift from God. The others gifts that you can receive are love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Without these others, patience is really difficult.
So what happens if someone starts yelling terrible things at you? You should love them.
What if someone argues and fights with you? You show them peace.
What if someone is just sour and mean? You show them kindness.
What if someone holds grudges against you? You show them goodness.
Cheats on you? Remain faithful to them.
Actively trying to ridicule you? Show gentleness.
Breaking your patience? Show self-control.
Knowing how to have patience is a difficult thing, and not one method can really help you in every scenario, but by learning how to cope with stressful situations every time you encounter them is its own battle, and it is entirely possible to achieve little victories by simply trying to love them.
After all, what happens if someone loses their patience on you? How would you like them to react? Spiteful and full of anger, or forgiving and full of understanding?