I have always thought that I am a pretty patient person. It takes a lot for me to get frustrated or annoyed at people. But then one unfortunate person would be the “last straw” and I would lose it, so to speak. I would take it all out on them.
I thought, “Well, I am almost always patient, so it’s fine to get mad or annoyed at someone once in a while.” But the truth of the matter was, I knew it wasn’t. I was just making excuses for myself. Trying to make myself look or feel like a better person.
Admitting the truth
The complete truth is that I am actually full of impatience and having demands on the others. When I lashed out, then the others would get the brunt of my frustration and harsh words. Instead of creating peace around me, I created an atmosphere of tension and fear. Later, when I thought about how I reacted – when I’d tried so hard to keep it inside, and then it burst out of me – I hated that I couldn’t control my actions. I’d feel a heaviness of regret, because I knew that it is not what others do or say to me that causes me to react the way I do, but it is the sin in my nature that I need to overcome.
God’s Word says that “Love suffers long and is kind … bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4,7-8. It says “all things,” so how great can my love be if I am patient “most of the time” with people? When I come into situations where I feel myself being impatient with the ones at work, or even with my family members and children in my life, am I able to acknowledge that? Or am I just pushing it side, so it becomes a pool of garbage in my life that will one day be exposed?
I need to use those times to see and love the truth about the way that I am and fight against and overcome those temptations to impatience and irritation in my thoughts before they become hurtful actions. When I am tempted to be impatient or react in anger, I always think about the verse in James 1:4: “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Then I find the strength from God to overcome that temptation and rather be patient and loving. There is a huge difference between hiding my impatience and actually being patient and loving!
Changing from the way I am
For me that is something that is so encouraging. To be able to see myself, the true impatience I have toward the others and for situations in my life and be able to change from the way that I am. So that when others are around me they can sense only love and peace. Not that I am full of demands and expectations from them.
It is such a blessing to be around people that you know won’t all of a sudden “lash out.” I can be that blessing for the people around me!
I know for myself I have a hundred opportunities a day to work on having a patient and quiet spirit. Each day, as I overcome when I am tempted, I come closer to winning this battle! Then the longing of my heart, which is to react in perfect love to each person I meet in life, will be fulfilled.