Impatience. It’s rampant in modern society. Everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere or get something done. When circumstances, or other people, don’t cooperate, most of us have a tendency to get a little irate. That’s the definition of impatience, isn’t it? I don’t get what I want, when I want it, so I get annoyed or just plain pissed off.
I know a lot about impatience. In fact, I have been an expert practitioner of it for more years than I care to count. It has only been recently that I have begun to think about just what my impatience was speaking to the people around me.
I’m learning just how destructive impatience can be. For one thing, impatience is based on the belief that my schedule is more important than someone else’s. “I want what I want and I want it now. Who cares what you want?” There’s no doubt that our culture actually encourages this, especially through advertising. “Why wait? You need this now!” Waiting for anything is viewed with disdain in the high tech age. We’re conditioned to want it now.
What does all this do to the way we treat each other? For one thing, impatience is not a loving way to treat anyone. 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter”, even begins with “Love is patient”. Well, love IS patient, and impatience is not founded on love. Since we are called to love one another, you would think we would try cutting each other a little slack!
If impatience says “I’m more important than you”, what would an attitude of patience speak to the people in our lives?
1) I respect you enough to give you the time you need.
2) My time is not more valuable than yours.
3) I will not rush you to satisfy my own agenda.
4) I love you enough to let you control the situation.
5) I trust you.
Love is patient, and being patient is a tangible expression of love through actions rather than words. Now, some of this may just be my opinion, but it is certainly true that impatience is contageous, and patience can be as well. What if my acts of patience not only affirmed the people around me but also showed them a better way to interact with one another?That’s a virus I would like to see going around!
What if everyone slowed down enough to let other people in their lives do things at their own pace? Wouldn’t that take a large measure of tension out of almost every situation? What would it cost to try? What’s more important, love or time? Why not take a deep breath and give the people in your life a gift of love by being more patient with them? Try it. It’s the Wild and Free way to live.