The Virtue of Patience

I am not a naturally patient person. I believe it comes with having a type A personality and being a perfectionist. I can hardly bear mistakes, delays, failures – both my own and others’. I can hardly stand sloooow pace. When I do something, I always try to do it precisely and snappily and expect others to do the same. Confession: I can barely veil my impatience with people of very slow comprehension or hard understanding. Sometimes, I put my impatience into words (may the Lord forgive me and help me in this :( ).

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I’ve been doing my best to be patient. It’s a constant in my daily prayers. Meaning, I’m not there yet. I get impatient with my husband, kids, and maids. But,

Love is patient, love is kind. (1 Cor. 13:4 NIV)

(Sigh).

I started with this book The Love Dare and the first day dares the reader to be patient, to not say a single negative thing to his/her spouse. I had been seeing this book whenever I visited christianbook.com or Amazon to browse for books to buy, but I never got interested. That is, until we watched the movie Fireproof. I was inspired by it and after more than a month of delaying, I requested my husband to buy me a copy at a local Bible bookstore. Good thing they have available stock.

Reading the first chapter, I was reminded again that love is patient. Well, we know this too well, don’t we? We memorized it, but to me, it seems that it has become less powerful than my temper. The problem with Christians who struggle with patience (like me) is that – we don’t commit to practicing it assiduously. We tend to react in the heat of the moment and even though, for a fleeting second, the Bible’s Love Chapter flashes in our minds with the hope to divert us from our momentary provocation – we ignore it. We even reason out deep in our minds that we are entitled to be impatient at that very moment because —- the other simply rubs us the wrong way!

I am guilty on all counts, but I think the The Love Dare book is affecting me in a good way. Yes, I am taking the dare seriously with hopes that it can do wonders to my day-to-day relationship with my husband, and bring a lasting bliss in the long run.

Before I began the dare, I was thinking it would be easy since from the day we moved to our newly-remodelled bedroom, my husband and I have been very close night and day. We were like honeymooners. We were spontaneously reviving the fervor of our love to each other – talking and being intimate.

But came the first day of the dare and I found myself like I was perilously balancing my composure on a thin line. I began preparations for my baking. I had mixed my lemon juice with the milk to make buttermilk. It was early in the afternoon, my ingredients were complete, but just before the words left my lips to tell the maid to preheat the oven, my husband texted me from the office asking me if I had P700 to pay for the gas which was yet to be delivered. I looked up at our maid and quietly asked, “You mean we don’t have gas right now? That we can’t heat the oven?”

“No, ma’am. I already advised sir Felix this morning,” Lei answered. I like her personality and service, so after telling her that she should have told me before we started, I held my tongue. Patience.

I texted back my husband to tell him I will ask someone to encash in the bank (just outside our village’s gate) to pay the gas delivery. He then texted me that he was going to call for delivery to which I answered, “ASAP!!!”

After many minutes had passed, he texted again telling me to look for the phonebook which was placed on the round table and look for this gas delivery and call and… And, and, and! I was sure I was going to lose my patience! Imagine the delay, while my ingredients sat there waiting? Why did he wait for about a quarter of an hour before telling me that there was no gas to be delivered unless I call them? I felt impatient (uh-oh!) as I turned the pages of the phonebook looking for the gas delivery number. I was tempted to text back my husband and tell him my complaints, but the dare was at my back taunting me. I did not text him.

One by one, I turned the pages of the phonebook (no, it’s not alphabetical). Patience. Patience. It was like a chant as I fought the urge to shut it close altogether. Got the number, called up, and waited patiently for delivery. I didn’t expect the refreshing feeling not giving in to my temper brought!

But it didn’t end there. Later, when I was trying to transfer my freshly-baked cinnamon coffeecake bread into the platter, I asked my husband to help me but he couldn’t quite unentangle himself from his new Sony Experia. “I can’t believe you can just sit there so engrossed in your gadget…”, I stopped, shook my head like one who was defeated and murmured, “I’m sorry.”

It’s never easy to be patient in the midst of challenging circumstances. But if we really want change to happen in our lives, we need to seriously commit. This morning when I woke up, this verse was in my mind. I thank the Lord for strengthening my resolve to practice patience.

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:37-39, emphasis added)

I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,