I was born with a very impatient nature. I wanted people to pay attention to everything I said, exactly when I said it. I interrupted almost every conversation that I wasn’t a part of. I didn’t really care about other’s needs, only mine.
People didn’t always listen to what I had to say. People didn’t follow directions. People didn’t contribute to group projects. The line was too long. The cashier was taking forever. The waiter got my order wrong. You name it – all these seemingly little things would trigger impatience in me.
I would especially get irritated at my siblings. The irritation quickly developed into anger, which soon became yelling and screaming. When I tried to “hold it in,” it would just build up inside of me until I exploded into an even bigger fit of screams.
I needed help to change
I finally came to a point where I found myself getting ticked off at the smallest mistakes that others made. I was exhausted of yelling and getting angry at others. I really wanted to change all that anger and frustration into a genuine love and care for other people. I began to imagine my impatience as a literal battle, one where the ultimate “battle prize” was to gain patience. I soon realized that fighting against impatience was something that I couldn’t do on my own. I needed a proper sword, and what better sword than God’s Word? (Ephesians 6:17)
There’s a verse in James 1:4 that says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
This verse stuck out to me because my goal in life as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to obtain divine nature – to be perfect just as He is perfect. (Matthew 5:48; 2 Peter 1:3-4) According to the verse in James, patience will help me achieve perfection, which is exactly what I am striving for!
Having a goal to be perfect just as our Father in heaven is perfect might sound near impossible, but the verse in Matthew 11:30 has helped me in my lifelong education as a disciple of Christ. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” With this verse as a weapon, it explains away all the discouragement and self-doubt that would eat away at me.
I really want to be an example to others, and show true kindness towards them, not anger and impatience. I am also often reminded of the verse, “Love suffers long [is patient] and is kind …” 1 Corinthians 13:4. This verse doesn’t just refer to the love towards one’s significant other; I can show a true love and care for anyone, whether it be my siblings, people at school or work, and even that slow cashier!
One of my favorite quotes is “Maybe you are the only Bible people around you are reading.” I think of this quote a lot in different situations. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and if I am impatient, for example, does that show others what a life of a disciple is supposed to be like? Of course not! If I consciously fight against temptation, then others can see that an overcoming life is possible!
I still get tempted to impatience, but now I know that I don’t have to give in to those thoughts and get angry at others. (Romans 8:12) I know that I have made progress in this area because I can look back on the life that I’ve lived so far, with a true satisfaction that I am not the same impatient person that I once was. I can even look forward to the coming situations that will test my gained patience, so that I can become an even stronger and happier person.