Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
When I taught piano lessons in Washington, DC, I discovered that my patience level directly correlated with how hungry I was. Typically, I wouldn’t have time to grab dinner in between taking the metro home from work and jumping in my car to head into rush hour traffic. If I hadn’t eaten, I wouldn’t let my students’ natural cognitive process happen when I taught them a new technique or a different fingering or a tricky rhythm. I’d be short – kind, but impatient. On the rare occasions where I’d have time to grab Subway and eat on my way, my students had a much happier and much more patient piano teacher.
Isn’t it funny how that works? And isn’t it funny how God only gives us as much patience as we need in that moment? Have you ever had leftover patience? There’s no such thing. I’ve learned from many things, including my teaching, that you don’t learn to be patient until you are exactly in the moment in which you need it. And the only way you can build up patience is to experience those situations. It’s not easy or quick. Thankfully, we can recognize triggers (like my hunger) so that we can prepare ourselves and avoid ugly moments of impatience.
Love is patient. The people that I admire, trust, and feel safe with the most are the people that are patient with me. Think about who that is for you. And the source of that patience is love. And the source of that love is God. When I witness someone being patient, it makes me want to have more patience to give to others.
Asking God for patience is a great thing, but don’t expect Him to give it to you in any other way than through circumstances in which you must be patient. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll marvel afterwards. And feel a little bit more grown up…for, like, a second…until you mess up again. Oh, is that just me?
p.s. I am still learning the art of having patience for SLOW DRIVERS. And people who don’t use their turn signals. ??? No excuse folks. I am convinced that in Iowa, driver’s ed teachers treat using turn signals as an occasional act of courtesy, but nothing to actually consider using in everyday life. Lord, forgive me for my impatience with bad drivers. And forgive anyone impatient with this hypocrite’s bad driving.