What things test your patience in your world? Is it traffic? Slow internet? Waiting in line at the store? Perhaps it’s a train on the tracks or taking your wife-to-be shoe shopping. (Ask me about that one sometime.) 

When my girls were younger, they liked spending their chore money at the Dollar Tree. Now imagine three little girls who already struggle to make decisions, deciding on 10 things to buy because they had $10 to spend! It was indeed a test of patience, and I’ll transparently admit I was impatient on a few occasions. 

It seems to me that not only are there areas in life where I might be impatient more, but there are also factors that impact how patient I am, even in areas where I’m normally patient. For instance, how much sleep I’ve gotten can determine how patient I’ll be, whether I’ve taken downtime, or if I’m hungry. 

But I’ve also realized that the older I’ve gotten, the more aware of the importance of being patient and the more patient I am (and I’ve still got a ways to go!). Today, I don’t care how much time I spend in a store with any of my girls. (or shoe shopping with my wife!). Why is that? Like most other things like patience, we get better over time, especially if we’re intentional. It’s hard to cultivate patience and grow in patience if we’re never expected to utilize the patience we have. It’s like building muscle – it has to be stimulated, used, and sometimes pushed beyond to grow stronger. However, like building muscle, growing in patience requires the correct nutritional and recovery conditions. We’ll explore this element next week. 

Today, let’s contemplate two manifestations of patience: short-term patience (in the moment) and long-term patience (enduring hardships). Both are equally crucial and both bring us nearer to God. Short-term patience could be me in the Dollar Store with three little girls. Long-term patience could be my journey through grief after losing a loved one. These experiences, though challenging, are opportunities for spiritual growth and deepening our relationship with God. 

This week, you’ll experience more short-term opportunities to be patient. Instead of seeing them as an inconvenience, see them as an opportunity for God to grow in you. Take that moment at the train tracks to pray for someone or thank God for something. Next time you’re in line and waiting, pray for the person before you. Maybe ask God how you can be a blessing to someone else. When approaching short-term patience with that mindset, you’re creating the correct environment to grow. 

Remember, it’s worth the wait – God does some of His best work while we’re waiting! This is a comforting truth that reassures us in moments of impatience. When we are patient, we open ourselves to the blessings and wisdom that God has in store for us.

You are loved!