Good morning, Five Minute Families. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Today in our series about the Fruit of the Spirit, we will be discussing patience. Do you ever find yourself frustrated in traffic? What about being irritated with a family member that seems to move at a snail’s pace? Patience is oft-discussed and highly encouraged. Yet, still, patience eludes many of us. As a fruit of the Spirit, it is clearly an attribute of God, which means that we and our families can exhibit patience more than we think we can.
I am not a patient person in my fleshly nature. Jim is patient, however. Thankfully. I have long struggled with figuring out the ‘why’ of my impatience. If we better understand the types of patience, we can understand the why of impatience. Psychologist Sarah Schnitker has discovered three main types of patience: interpersonal patience, patience in life’s hardships, and patience for daily hassles. And, wouldn’t ya know, God already knew that, and His word addresses all three.
Well, I’m not really that patient…
For interpersonal patience, which is our patience with people around us, especially ones we have a relationship with, God gives us Ephesians 4:2, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bear with one another in love.”
For patience in life’s hardship moments (or seasons), we need long-term patience, typified by perseverance. Here we have Romans 12:12. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
And, for patience in daily life’s minor annoyances, we need the ability to be calm. Proverbs 16:32 states, “One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And one who rules his spirit, than one who captures a city.” The CSB explains the concept of the verse this way, “Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s emotions, than capturing a city.”
Stress, fears, worries, and frustrations all seep in to our behavior with our loved ones, but HOW we handle those catalysts is what makes a difference between walking in our flesh or walking in the Spirit. Our salvation – our justification – is work solely done by God, but our earthly progression in growing more like Him is our work to do – our sanctification. Patience is part of that. We have the Holy Spirit, which means patience is possible, but we must practice the SKILL of patience, especially those of us who are not naturally gifted in the area of patience.
So, five-minute families let’s focus intentionally on these five areas to practice the skill aspect of patience:
First, be mindfully aware of impatient moments. What emotions are rising to the surface? What timeline is being impacted that creates the most impatient moments? Is someone sick, frustrated, or unheard?
Second, remind yourself that you or your loved one may be experiencing a sense of lack of control. What can you control right now? The one answer that will come into every situation is yourself. Only you can control yourself right now.
So, third, engage in some specific behaviors to get your emotions of impatience under control by counting your breaths, or scrunching up and then releasing your shoulders. Slow down your physical behavior to get better awareness and control of your impatience.
Fourth, put yourself and family in uncomfortable, patience-required situations. Not all at once, of course. But, choose to practice waiting for longer and longer periods of time in order to increase each family member’s ability to be patient.
And, fifth, stop multitasking as a family. Despite the constant multitasker’s viewpoint that they get more done that way, studies prove that multitasking is not as productive as they think. But, if a multitasker expects everyone to keep up with their speed, it will simply lead to more impatience. For patience practice, choose some singularly focused activities such as reading or sports that require waiting during the sport itself, sport like fishing, golf, and baseball.
And, here’s a bonus…. practice better communication skills. This helps improve patience because a person who is communicating better feels their needs and wishes are being heard and thus they don’t need to respond in impatient ways to feel more connected and seen?
Patience makes you a better friend to family, friends, coworkers, and your biblical community. Patience ALSO makes you a better friend to yourself by achieving some of those long-term goals you have… such as for a five-minute family to raise good, godly children who love and serve the Lord.
May God guide you this week as you practice the skills of patience, pouring into your family God’s amazing goodness. Be blessed!