Patience is a Virtue, or is it?

“Patience is a virtue”…that I do not poses.  At least I didn’t prior to starting my walk with Christ.   I had no patience for anything, be it slow drivers, noisy kids, or “stupid” people…I rapidly became frustrated and usually exploded.

In the last few months, I do feel as if I have “developed” more patience.  I don’t react negatively to my kids nearly as often. When I do, I usually catch myself and attempt to take a proverbial chill-pill.  Instead of getting bent out of shape when things go wrong, I am attempting to find the humor in the situation.  Like when I was taking my petunias home from my Dad’s house, and ended up dumping them all over the back of his Tahoe as I coasted around a corner…sorry about that Dad!

Dumped flowers

Life seems to be so much easier, and much more enjoyable, when you don’t freak out about everything!  I tell you what, had I understood…really understood…how much less work it is to laugh at a situation than it is to get flustered, stress out and lash out.  I would have started such a long time ago!

As I was beginning to write this post, my intention was to talk about how patience is more like grace, and how grace is a virtue.  Think about this, when things don’t go the way you expected or someone screws up.  Being patient is the Godly thing to do, it is what Jesus would do.  He would give grace to that person/situation even though it wasn’t perfect.

But as I sit here and write, I am thinking it’s not realistic to expect perfection!  Nothing and no one is perfect, except Jesus.  So why on Earth do we expect our lives to be?  Maybe patience isn’t as much about grace, as it is changing our expectations to be more realistic.  Here is an example we have all seen and most likely experienced, the Toddler-Supermarket-Melt-Down:  It’s 5:30 pm, you stop at the grocery store with your 3-year-old.  You go through the cereal isle…and the tantrum starts.  You become embarrassed and frustrated, perhaps even lash out at the poor kid (been there done that).

Lets look at the whole picture and adjust our expectations…It’s been a long day, he hasn’t eaten since snack time at 3:00 pm, he is all played out.  Now we are making him go to a place with lots of food which he cannot eat.  If you were tired, hungry, and didn’t have control of your emotions…you would throw a fit to get that Co-Co Cereal too!  When I take a step back, put myself in someone else’s shoes, and change my expectations…I find patience.

Is patience a virtue?  I don’t think it is.  I think patience is taking the time to evaluate your expectations and bringing them back to reality.  I think patience is being able to accept your flaws and even laugh at yourself when you tip potted plants over while driving.  I don’t think patience is something you are born with, I think it is a skill you have to practice on a daily basis.  Just like keeping your muscles in shape, or keeping your brain sharp, patience must be practiced in order for it to be natural.

To all those people who seem to exude patience, I applaud you!  Your hard work and diligence has definitely paid off!  And to the rest of us who are not yet Patience Pros, keep your chin up and take it one day at a time.

Lord, help us to take a step back and re-evaluate our expectations when dealing with our daily lives.  Give us a moment of peace to regroup when necessary.  Help us to accept our flaws, and help us to remember you made us this way with a purpose.  Lord give us the clarity to understand that purpose, and guide us down your path.

In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen