June 28, 2012

10 Tips for Becoming More Patient (Book of James)

"Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.  You too must be patient.  Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand."  
- James 5:7 

According to the dictionary, being patient means "bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint; manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain."  Why should we strive to be more patient?  Let's turn to the Bible to figure it out:
  • Patience leads to maturity and wholeness: "And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." - James 1:4
  • It leads to the crown of life. "Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him." - James 1:12
  • It leads to happiness: "Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered." - Part of James 5:11

It is clearly a good thing and something we should all desire.  So what are some ways to become more patient? 

1. Remember that fortitude and patience are gifts of the Holy Spirit.  If we work on being patient and pray for it, the Holy Spirit will help us. 

2. Do not grumble or complain!!! Yikes, this is one that I am working on!  Jeff said that grumbling is the opposite of patience, and James said in 5:9, "Do not complain, brothers, about one another, that you may not be judged.  Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates." Grumbling is a negative thing because it makes it seem like our needs are the most important thing in the world. It causes us to lose our focus on God and shows we don't trust Him.  It can also cause us to blame other people and say negative things about them, which could lead to judging them.  When you are tempted to grumble, think of something positive to say.  For example, if you are annoyed with someone who is talking so much, thank God that you have the gift of hearing, as well as the cognitive ability to understand spoken language.  

3. Pray. When you are in a situation that tests your patience, do not complain, whether it's to someone else or you keep it to yourself.  Instead, try praying for patience, a better attitude, and a new perspective.  Pray for the person who is causing you to lose patience.  None of us have the whole picture of what is going on in another person's life, and there could be something awful going on that is affecting their behavior. 

4. Remember the Lord is always with you.   I love this thought that Jeff shared in the video.  Imagine that Jesus is going to stay with you for an entire day.  He will ride with you in the car, go to work with you, and stand beside you for all of your conversations with other people.  Do you think you will be more patient with other people than usual? More calm? Feeling peaceful?  I would hope you said yes! :) Well, that's how we should be all the time because he is always with us for every single part of our day.  We just don't always have that awareness of His presence.  Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you."  Making yourself more conscious of His presence multiple times a day will help to give you that peace,which is why it's a good thing to have constant prayer throughout your day. 

5. Keep an eternal perspective. James mentions two times how we must be patient and await the coming of the Lord.  In 5:8 he says, "You too must be patient.  Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand."  Remember that what you are going through is just a situation on earth that will pass, and one day we will be reunited with God and there will be no sadness, stress, or suffering.  I think it's also good to just keep things in perspective when you are impatient about little things.  Is it really a big deal that you are waiting in line for a long time?  So what?  God loves you infinitely, he is always with you, and there are so many wonderful things ahead for you if you persevere through the trials in your life with patience.  

6.  Look to examples from the Bible. Two people in the Bible who are excellent models of patience are Job and Jeremiah.  Job was favored by God, and because of this the Devil tried to tempt him from trusting in God by taking away his health, wealth, and children.  Job went through some extremely hard times, yet he remained faithful to God, never grumbling and always praying.  He had an eternal perspective, and is known for saying "I know that my Redeemer lives."  Yes, he did sometimes ask God questions about why he was suffering, but he never complained 0r spoke as though God put him in that situation.  Jeremiah was put in the stocks, yet he also remained patient and trusted in the Lord.  He said in Jeremiah 20:11, "but the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.  In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion."  

7. Remember that God is in control.  

8. Practice: Just as with anything else, if you don't practice you are not going to become any more patient.  Over time, if you consistently make small choices whenever you feel like you are about to lose your patience, you will build a new lifestyle.  Also, building up patience in the small situations in life will help you develop the forbearance to handle the much more serious situations. 

9. Think about what situations cause you to become impatient.  Make a plan to deal with those situations, or write a prayer that you can say when you are in that situation.  Here are some Catholic prayers for patience. 

10. Receive God's grace through the sacraments, the Bible, and mass.  Jeff Cavins made an analogy to being on a sailboat.  You can set your sail, but you can't going to go anywhere without the wind.  You can try all you want to become more patient, but without constantly receiving God's grace, it's not going to help you get anywhere.  

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." 
- 1 Colossians 3:12

Does anyone else have tips for becoming more patient?  It's something I've been working on a lot, and I'm sure it's something I'll continue to work on for a long time! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! And I guess when you are trying to learn patience...You need to be patient as that virtue develops! I definitely needed this post.