Patience Please

 

 

All my life I’m waiting

For one thing or another

Patience is my lesson

And time is my mother

 

~ Waiting Part One from Fearless Moral Inventory by Juliet A. Wright

copyright 2010, all rights reserved

 

 

One of my biggest defects of character is impatience.

 

To me, patience means that I’m willing to wait for what I want or need. Impatience means that I want what I want right now and don’t ever want to wait for it.

 

That pretty much sums it up for me. I’d like everything right this minute, please. I can’t stand waiting. Whether I’m in traffic, on hold on the telephone, in line at the checkout counter at the grocery store, or waiting for my computer to boot up, I’m always in a hurry. Maybe it’s because I’m always late, always short on time, and thus am always trying to fit too many activities into a small amount of time. Or maybe it’s because I live in a society where multi-tasking has become the norm. Perhaps it is a combination of all of those things.

 

I’m very impatient. I’ve written a three-part song about my impatience, in fact. A selection from that song introduces this section. The song is called Waiting. Here are some more choruses from that piece of music:

 

Why must I keep waiting

For time that doesn’t exist

Am I missing something

Or trying to resist

 

Why must I keep waiting

Everything takes forever

Life is never simple

It’s always an endeavor

 

~ Waiting Part Two from Fearless Moral Inventory by Juliet A. Wright copyright 2010, all rights reserved

 

 

Why must I keep waiting

For hours without salvation

What is it that I’m gaining

But pain and frustration

 

Why must I keep waiting

What is it I’m to learn

If it’s peace I have none

More lessons will I earn

 

~ Waiting Part Three from Fearless Moral Inventory by Juliet A. Wright copyright 2010, all rights reserved

 

 

I am impatient for many different things. I’m impatient at the wheel of a car when I get behind a slow driver. I’m impatient when the phone rings, I answer it, and I don’t have time to talk and need to hang up. I’m impatient when I’m tired. I’m impatient with my art. I’m impatient when I’m in line at a Cumberland Farms convenience store, where some person is buying lotto tickets, cigarettes, sandwiches, and everything else behind the counter at a very slow pace.

 

I’m impatient when it comes to my weight loss too. God tells me to be patient and to persevere. I do my best. I am learning to endure the weight loss process by being happy with small amounts of weight loss at a time. This comes in opposition to my old self who expected to lose 10 pounds in one night by starving myself as I have in the past. It took me a while to gain the weight, it will take me a while to lose it. Good things come to those who wait. In this way, I am learning patience. One step forward, two steps back.

 

The bible addresses patience in the book of James:

 

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

~ James 5:7-8 (NIV)

 

When I’m struggling with patience, James reminds me to look for support in the prophets who were patient and persevered. I need to do this because:

 

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.

~ James 5:10-11 (NIV)

 

So the principle of perseverance is being addressed here. James wants us to keep going, keep trying, and not give up. In the book of James, Job — even though he was suffering from all kinds of illness and loss — persevered.

 

Patience and perseverance go hand in hand in my world too. I must learn to go by God’s timing, not my own. And I must remember that everything is happening as it is meant to happen.

 

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.[1]

 

The booklet Let Go and Let God by Steve Mays says that God made Joseph wait 13 years before he became head of Egypt as Prime Minister.[2]

 

So here I have the concept of patience coming at me from multiple sources. That is God talking to me. I must listen.

 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time. ~ 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)

 

Steve Mays says we are impatient by nature. All humans are. He says sometimes God withholds things because he wants to do something even greater in the end. God is not in a hurry.[3] My therapist says that too. There is no urgency in Spirit.

 

 

Patience at Work

 

Patience and tests produce endurance. That must be why I went through all of those difficulties with my professional development approvals this year. Each year, I take my two professional development days and one personal day and go to the American String Teachers Association Conference. The conference is in a different place every year. In 2015, it was held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Every time, the process of getting it approved by my superiors gets a little more difficult. This go-round really took the cake. My school district has a new computer program that records absences. Of course I’m still learning how to use it.

 

The process is supposed to be really efficient, but that was not the case this time. I followed the process by filling out the necessary paperwork and putting the dates in the computer. Then my Deputy Superintendent said I couldn’t go. So I canceled the trip. I was really confused and disappointed by the Deputy Superintendent’s decision. This trip is one of the highlights of my year. Then she said I just entered the information wrong, but it could be fixed and I should go. So I fixed all of the information in the computer and sent it to her. She approved it. I thought I was all set. Later that month, she contacted me and stated that she never heard from me and therefore didn’t approve it. Then she left our district to work somewhere else. By then, I had paid for my non-refundable plane ticket and conference attendance fees. I was very frustrated and bewildered by this. I don’t blame my former leader. No one is perfect and she was no doubt doing the best she could, just as I was.
I did not give up. I stuck with it. The administration asked me to be patient and trust that it would be approved. I did that. I waited for the administration to help me fix the problem and they did.

 

This process taught me patience and perseverance. Working my program helped me to stay calm and take things in stride, instead of going to a place of anxiety and obsession. I had to wait for the Deputy Superintendent’s replacement to be hired. Then I had to persevere and patiently resubmit all that paperwork to get the trip approved. I was patient. I asked God for help. Once again He delivered. The trip was approved and I went.

 

 

Patience and Art 

 

I am also learning patience through the medium of art. I am an amateur visual artist, dabbling in oil painting. I’m not good at it, but I love it. I am slowly learning a little bit at a time. I built myself an art studio that has a barn underneath. The studio has a bathroom and doubles as a guest room. It has a wonderful view out the windows.

 

The purpose of painting in my life is to teach me patience. When I first started art, I approached it like I approach everything else. I was in a hurry. I wanted to create a perfect, museum-worthy painting in an hour. Right. Hello? I was still like that until recently. Then I had an awakening. Why don’t I just leave this painting on the easel for a while until I get it how I like it?

 

Now my paintings are not something I am trying to get finished, in the can, signed right away. They are something I am patiently picking away at over time. The old Juliet would have been yelling at herself, saying, “You just bought all of those art-instruction DVDs and videotapes and you haven’t even gotten through the first video yet! Hurry up! I want all of those videos done by the end of the month!” Tell me, do I have a drill sergeant in my head or what? That is my inner critic barking orders. I don’t have to listen to him.

 

Painting teaches me patience in many ways. First of all, it takes time to apply the medium to the canvas and work it in to the point where it can be successfully painted upon. Secondly, it takes time and patience to mix the desired color to be just right. The process cannot be rushed. Thirdly, it takes time, control, effort, and infinite patience for me to do the brush strokes just right as I try to emulate what the instructor is doing on the DVD. (I am teaching myself to paint via Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting series. Right now, I am working with his 3-hour “how to paint” DVD, which is fantastic.)

 

I am learning patience in other areas of my life too. A while back, I was leaving the coffee place and an old man was trying to make it to his car. This poor old man was really struggling and didn’t have a cane, so he was moving just a little bit at a time. Why didn’t he have a cane? I felt badly for him. The old Juliet would have been annoyed that he was so slow and in her way. The new Juliet had compassion for this man and was debating about whether or not to help him. That is a step forward, towards the kinder, more compassionate Juliet and away from the impatient Juliet. I’m learning to be more patient with others. I’m learning to be patient with myself. I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing as much as I can.

 

I’m still impatient when I am driving in traffic and I’m working on that. I’m also trying to leave earlier so that there is less stress involved and more time available to get where I’m going. I also try to get up at the crack of dawn when possible to get where I’m going so I miss traffic. I have my Angry Birds stuck to my dashboard. They are there to calm me down and they do so quite effectively. I keep lots of music in my car that I use to calm myself down and get into the patient mode when I’m driving. As I stated earlier, The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack is great for calming me down.

 

God is not on my time line. I am on His time line. He has a better plan for me, better than what I could have orchestrated. I need to chill out, trust Him, and keep going. These tests of patience are producing perseverance in me.

 

Juliet’s Mantras on Patience

  • I am learning patience.
  • I will become a more patient person.
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

~ Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

  • Juliet is patient, Juliet is kind. Juliet does not envy, she does not boast, she is not proud. ~ Juliet’s translation

 

So now I will take my impatience with my professional development approval and put it into Processes One and Two.

 

 

 

Process One:

 

  1. I consciously breathe in and out slowly. Breathing with awareness brings me back to the present moment. It gives me an automatic time-out.
  2. I become aware of what I am doing.
  3. I ask myself, What’s going on in my body, feelings, and brain?

Body:  Body is tense, heart is starting to race. My body is starting to sweat.

Feelings: Angry, frustrated, impatient, and rageful.

Brain:  I’m very tired of waiting for my professional development to be approved. Nothing is happening and I’m stressed out about it. I can’t get my money back for the flight, hotel, or conference fee. If they don’t approve my time off, I’ll be out all that money and I won’t get the professional development this year.

  1. If possible, I write down the information and journal about how I’m feeling. I feel angry, frustrated, impatient, and rageful.
  2. I pray for the willingness to accept the situation and information as it is. God help me be willing to accept this endless waiting process for my professional development approval as it is.
  3. I pray for acceptance of the situation. God help me to accept this endless waiting process for my professional development approval. Help me accept that you have a reason for this process and delay and that it is for my highest good.
  4. I admit powerlessness over said problem. Dear God, I admit powerlessness over my professional development approval process.
  5. Then I become willing to feel my feelings. I feel angry, frustrated, impatient, and rageful. I really let myself feel it, all out. I let my rage out by playing Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet, or The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack to relieve myself of this anxiety. I will glance at my Angry Birds while I listen. This helps me get my rage out. If I’m at home, I will exercise and pound and yell to get rid of that icky anger energy inside of me.
  6. I pray for God to help me with the pain I feel inside. Dear God, I am powerless over this anger, frustration, impatience, and rage that I am feeling now. I ask that you remove these feelings of pain from me.
  7. I put a note in my God Box about it. Dear God, I give you my professional development approval and my feelings about the situation to the highest good of all involved.
  8. Where can I put my mind that is not on this? I go do something else.
  9. The something else lately has been me playing music on my violin, viola, cello, and guitar when I feel despair coming on or am in the middle of the CoDA crazies. Playing music gets me relaxed, calm, breathing, and balanced.
  10. I have to remember that God doesn’t make junk. I am a beloved child of God just the way I am. I don’t have to do anything to be okay. I am okay just because I’m me. I must never forget that. I am a worthwhile person just because I exist.
  11. From now on, I will just decide to be happy and patient when confronted with situations where I feel anger, frustration, impatience, and rage. If this doesn’t work, I will repeat step 8 above of Process One until I feel calm. I will pray and give it to God too. He will help.
  12. Even if I never get my professional development approved and I lose all that money, I am still okay. I’m still a good person. I am a beloved child of God. I can always talk to God about it. He’ll help me.
  13. I take myself to Tanglewood: When I do this, I look at a picture I have of Tanglewood and take myself there in my mind. If I’m not near my picture, I use my cross ring as an anchor to remind myself to go to Tanglewood in my mind. It helps me relax. I am at Tanglewood sitting on the lawn and the breeze is blowing my hair. The orchestra is beginning to play.

 

After I go through Process One, I proceed to Process Two — Make a Plan:

 

  1. I recheck my anxiety level. How am I feeling? I feel better, more relaxed.
  2. I breathe big and deep.
  3. What is the information? I am impatient about my professional development coming through and am stressed about losing money over it.
  4. What are my choices? I can stay stressed, or I can do whatever I can to resolve the situation and leave the rest in God’s hands.
  5. I hold the outcome in the Light of God, give thanks, and visualize what I want. Thank you God for helping me with my professional development approval process. If it is your will, I pray that I am able to go on my trip and that I will be at peace during the whole process.
  6. I take action in the direction of the choices I’ve made. If needed, I plan my additional steps. I am doing everything I can to resolve the situation with my professional development approval and give it to God to fix the rest.
  7. I affirm my choice and accept it. I am comfortable with my plan.
  8. I give it to God by either placing my problem in an imaginary goblet and offering it up to God with arms outstretched, or by getting on my hands and knees and giving it to him. Dear God, please take this issue off my plate. I place it in your capable, loving hands.
  9. I ask myself, Where could I put my mind that’s not on this?
  10. I go play my instruments, write a song, work on my book, or do some painting.
  11. I thank God.

Additional practices that help to me work through my impatience:

  • Music: I listen to Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet, The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, or Linkin Park when I feel severe impatience coming on. It helps me relax.
  • Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to get rid of the negative energy that comes with impatience.
  • Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to discern God’s will for me and helps to give me the strength to do His will. It helps me to remember that he is in charge and I’m not. I’m on his time table, he is not on mine.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “Easy does it,” “This too shall pass,” “Act as if,” “Let go and let God” and “Turn it over.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
  • Take a break: Sometimes I need to just stop, sit, and breathe. This helps get rid of the anxiety and stress associated with being impatient. I need to keep practicing this. Sitting and doing nothing but breathing is a really good exercise in patience for me.
  • Let it go: I rid myself of anxiety and impatience every time I give my life to God. I let go, trust Him, and move on. I consider that it is as it’s supposed to be at this moment and I always feel better.

[1] Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book, 4th ed. New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. 2001, p. 417.

[2] Mays, Steve. Let Go and Let God: Casting Your Cares Upon the Lord. Gardena, CA: Light of the Word, 2009, p. 9.

[3] Ibid, pp. 6-7.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *