This is the first post in the Love Tune-Up series. With I Corinthians 13-4-8 as our guide, today’s topic will focus on “Love is patient.”
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (I Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB)
On Friday, as we were driving to Houston for a family reunion, I started thinking of all the situations that I could remember where I hadn’t shown patience. I wanted to see if I could detect any patterns leading up to my behavior. After some time, it finally dawned on me that each instance seemed to be a matter of misaligned priorities. That is, I became impatient because it was all about me. Someone or something was getting in the way of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go or what I wanted to have.
There were many times when the kids were steady calling my name or asking questions while I was busy on the internet or writing blog posts. Times when I’d said prayers and didn’t find them answered when or how I’d wanted them to be answered. Times when the too-slow-driving cars were holding me back from getting to appointments that I was already late for. Or times when hubbie was telling me a story while my attention was really into something on t.v. or on the computer screen.
It wasn’t quite the revelation I’d expected. It seemed way too simple. I was expecting some deep theological explanation about patience. I didn’t expect to learn that selfishness was contributing to my impatience with others. Still in disbelief, I decided to test the theory throughout the weekend to see if it held up; and unfortunately, it did.
- bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
- manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
- not hasty or impetuous
- steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
- a : able or willing to bear —used with of, b : susceptible, admitting
Why Being Patient Matters
Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind. –Leonardo da Vinci
In relationships, patience is critical because it helps us brush off the offenses that are sure to come. It helps us to maintain a measure of calm and stability when everything around us may be going crazy. Without patience, we’re easily upset, frustrated and discouraged. I imagine that patience is listed first in the I Corinthians 13 definition of love because without it, it’s hard to exhibit all the other traits.
After this revelation about patience, I was reminded about Sasha Dicther’s Generosity Experiment that. After refusing to give to a homeless man, he decided to say yes to every single request someone made of him for an entire month—whether a donation request from a nonprofit, an after hours request from a coworker to help with a project or a homeless person on the street.
When it comes to being more patient, we have to first ask God for his help to become more patient. Then, I believe we should learn to say yes more often to others. Not to the point where we become door mats to the whims of everyone else, but just so that we keep our needs, desires and wants in proper perspective. God > Others (Husband, Children, Family, Friends, etc.) > Self.
So, here’s the homework assignment for this week:
- Make a note of any circumstances that cause you to become impatient and trace back to the root of your response.
- For one week, say yes to any requests–whether it’s helping a coworker with a project when you’d rather be doing your own work, reading another story to your kids while the dishes are calling your name, or letting a friend just talk when you have some chores to finish. Again, the point isn’t to turn you into a pushover. The point is that by learning to say yes more, you’ll have to learn to exercise more patience, and the more patience you exercise, the more patient person you’ll become.