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Who Has Time For Patience? 3 Strategies To Make Patience a Spiritual Practice


Watching television has changed a lot since I was a kid. I'm not sure the phrase 'watching television' itself is entirely accurate anymore. As a kid, a show was on a particular night at a particular time, and you either saw it or missed out. If you did miss out, there was a chance that you might be able to catch it again in the summer reruns. These days, I don't watch much on television, and even if I did, I doubt that I would be able to say what day or time it aired. When I'm of a mood to watch a show, I call it up and watch it. Sometimes on the television. Sometimes on the iPad while I'm doing something else (just assume it's exercising).

Television, like so many other things, has been tailored to our convenience. We call ahead to a restaurant (when there's not a pandemic) so we don't have to wait to be seated. We pay extra for a fast 2-day delivery service, which will soon seem like an eternity (remember when we had to wait TWO DAYS for deliveries?) Grocery stores are packed with ready-made one-pot meals to cut down the time we spend cooking. We pay extra for a Fast Pass to avoid lines at amusement parks. Hell hath no fury like being behind a slow car in the fast lane.

There are times that we cannot shortcut our wait, or have things tailored for our convenience. When it comes to mental, physical, and spiritual health we are required to put in the time to develop those muscles. Sometimes we have to wait for test results to know whether or not we, or someone we love, has a life-threatening or debilitating condition. It's easy to feel like we are going to break under these pressures.

The problem is that when we craft our lives around immediate gratification and convenience, we don't grow those core muscles in our souls that see us through the difficult times. We need those muscles. Here's how we can develop them.

  1. Take time to pray. We can pray any time, any where, in any circumstance. When we are stuck in a line, or at a light, or in a waiting room consider it an opportunity to breathe deeply and connect with God. We often complain that we don't have the time to pray - here it is!

  2. Practice Gratitude. Nothing changes our mindset like gratitude. Use the time you have to begin noticing and naming the things for which you are grateful. Once you begin, you find more and more. It's a habit that when developed, can truly change us for the better.

  3. Connect with someone. Use the time as an opportunity to deepen your understanding and appreciation of another person. Ask a thought-provoking question, such as "If you were to write book, what would it be about?" or "What would the final chapter be named?" Maybe consider this yourself.

The point is, time is a gift. We have a limited amount. Instead of trying to cram in everything possible, let it be a gift that helps you decide what is truly important. Once you know what the big, important things are, then you can align your thoughts and efforts around what matters most.

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