As I reflect on this quote I am reminded of this verse, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
In today’s “I want it all now” world patience seems to be a diminishing virtue. Everything in life seems to be a single click or web search away and because of this we tend to expect wisdom to be immediate and instantaneous. I can’t think of anything that I have achieved with ease that I value nearly as much as those things I have had to work hard for and pursue with patience and diligence.
“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”
Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? How about the first time you gave a presentation or spoke publicly? Both are hard and it likely took a lot of effort and energy to master these skills. But through dedication and repetition those difficult tasks become easier and even routine (well, maybe not for public speaking). To master the skill you have to weather the storms and deal with the inevitable setbacks and bruises. The key is to have a goal that is more important than any temporary pain or frustration. Only then you can achieve your dreams.
Patience is not one of my virtues. Not. At All. Even when I find myself thinking that perhaps I have developed a new level of patience something will happen and I am reminded that developing patience is, and will be, a continual journey for me. Waiting is just not something I am good at. But waiting is sometimes exactly what I need.
I will fully admit that I have learned more in life when the journey has been long and I have had to sit back and understand what God is teaching me through patience. In hindsight the journey is always worth the cost and the reward is sweeter for having persevered.
What lessons have you learned through demonstrating patience that might otherwise have passed you by? Would you be the person you are today without having taken the bitter patience pill a few times?
I think I need to learn how to be impatiently patient. Never wanting to slow down and be content being patient but fully willing to embrace the lessons I can learn through patience.
“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”
Forgive the long post but this topic is something that I am really passionate about… I am a huge fan of Dr. Stephen Covey’s classic “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” It has been one of the most impactful books that I have read and studied in my life and each of the Habits are incredibly powerful. It is certainly a must read ((In fact, thinking about it now I am due to reread it again soon…) and one that I highly recommend.
One of the things that resonated so much with me the first time I read the book was the concept of the “circle of concern” vs. “circle of control.” Proactive people tend to live a life focused on their “circle of control” while reactive people tend to live a life that is reacting to things outside of their control.
I bring this up in context with this quote because the weather is a great example of “circle of concern.” We can’t control the storms, the sunshine or how the weather changes our plans. But we can control how we react to the weather. We can make decisions to wear different clothes, make different plans, put an umbrella in our car.
This is such a great metaphor for life. If we choose spend our energy focused on reacting to things that are in our “circle of concern” instead of being focused on the things with in our “circle of control” we will always be reacting, always be unhappy, always be unsettled.
It is hard to do at times but I try to run everything impacting my life, and those around me, through this filter and ask myself the following questions.
Is this thing/event/circumstance within my circle of concern or circle of control?
Circle of Concern:
What decisions do I need to make regarding how I will act/react to it?
What is within my control that will influence how this impacts me/others?
Where can/should I have made different decisions that will/would have impacted the impact on my world/environment?
Circle of Control:
What can I do to impact this?
Where should I invest my effort and energy to make a proactive change?
What can I do differently?
Take a look at this picture below. I think it does a tremendous job outlining the difference in how people react to the Circle of Concern vs. the Circle of Control.
”Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
Ah, patience…definitely not one of my strongest virtues. Though I can’t think of one time in my life where patience hasn’t been rewarded in some way or another. Though in many cases not in the way that I expected.
I believe there are two ways one can handle being patient. First, one can have the “why isn’t this happening already?!” approach. This is where not having a good attitude can be very dangerous. It makes it hard to remain positive and learn anything beneficial.
The second, and much more powerful approach, is is to refocus and ask yourself this question, “What am I supposed to be learning during this season of waiting?” Doing this requires that one have a positive attitude and it enables your ability to grow and learn while waiting.
If you can reframe waiting to view the world through the lens of learning it can change how you feel about being patient. Don’t misunderstand, being patient is still extremely challenging, but maybe waiting is more about learning than it is achieving…