faith, Pandemic Wisdom

Practicing Patience

Our youngest son was a just tiny boy when he asked me why they call it fast food if you have to wait so long in line for it. I found myself unable to explain to him how long planning and preparing real food actually takes.

I also remember taking our children to brunch at nice places. They would fill their plates immediately and be ready to go in 15 minutes, not at all understanding the whole idea of stretching out a meal over hours of dining, talking, savoring and pacing oneself.

Certainly, social media has accelerated our inability to be patient. We’ve all learned to digest news in tiny fragments, rarely reading the whole article. I know if a video is longer than say 7 seconds, I’m unlikely to watch. If something on social media says “this is a long read but worth it.” I skip ahead to the next shorter thing I can find. Everyone writes for clicks so the more sensational the headline the better.

In my own blogging, I’ve learned that people will read the most, the minute I publish this and push it to them with a diminishing return in the days after that. Hardly anyone goes looking for something to read on a website or blog spot anymore. We all want the good stuff in a brief as form as possible delivered directly to us, quickly or we move on the the next enticing thing.

We want our deliveries fast and to our doorsteps. I love being able to deposit a check quickly from my home, on my phone and get frustrated now if it takes two tries, not remembering the old days when a check meant you physically had to go to the bank, walk in, wait in line and actually fill out paperwork to deposit it. That’s how we used to get cash too, remember?

I started listening to Audible books at an increased speed because I can multitask while listening and sure they are talking fast, but I can digest the material in half the time.

Certain things frustrate me to no end, like how slowly my scale responds to my restored healthy habits or how my newly injured ankle is requiring weeks to heal.

I’m impatient, like you are, with commercials, the mail being so slow and how long it takes to thaw things. Our stores seem very impatient. It’s August but they are ready for Christmas.

We are waiting for our third grandson to be born and it seems like he’s taking his sweet time growing from a little poppy seed sized person into a ready to be born boy.

I was complaining just this morning that news broke yesterday about revamped college fall football in the south and the local newspaper failed to say anything about it yet. Me: Are they slow or what? This is old news already.

Contrast this with everything that is spiritual, healthy and worth it. God’s timing tends to be slow and luxurious, sometimes taking a lifetime to be revealed. I can see things now that were unfolding 20 years ago only coming to fruition today. How slow is that?

I still marvel over the “kids” in my first youth group who are now in their late 40’s, parenting teens themselves. I can now see that the seeds of love, compassion, faith and integrity really did germinate and bloom in their lives. Who knew it would take so long?

We are facing this virus and it seems like that alone is a master class in patience. Nobody is giving us any timelines or end dates on this thing. We buckled up and did some hard things in March and we are absolutely and collective baffled that it hasn’t exactly immediately paid off. We are stunned to think about more to come. We are really very bad at slow, at patience, at the long haul aren’t we?

Our little four-year-old grandson picked a flower recently that was still a bud. He really wanted to see the flower so he quickly dug into that bud with his tiny fingers. The unborn petals did not enjoy this and started coming off in his little hands one by one. They were a pale color and still curled inwardly. He kept asking me where the flower was and I kept saying it’s in there but it isn’t ready yet. It is too soon. It’s not time. It needed to stay in the dirt, rain and the sunshine until it was ready to open and be a flower. It was impossible to explain. He gave up and moved on to checking out a uninhabited snail’s shell.

As much as I love sunrises, I find myself the same way with even the sun. When I’m really able to settle myself and watch, it seems like it takes forever. Sometimes I find myself checking the time of sunrise on my weather app because it seems like we are minutes maybe even hours off schedule with this particular sunrise. Sometimes I get up to leave because I have “things to do” and God will whisper, Just wait. Wait for it. You haven’t seen anything yet. Those Holy whispers are always right. Something spectacularly beautiful happens when I am patient.

Patience is an art and a spiritual matter. It requires practice. How will you practice patience today?

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and one on the way. For more blogs, upcoming events, information on the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts on Tuesday mornings and to sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle monthly email, pictures and prayer requests go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.

5 thoughts on “Practicing Patience”

  1. Oh, Cindy! You are spot on again:-). Lord, please teach us patience. The luxury of your presence requires it, and we so need it.

  2. Not only do I read your posts when I can sit down and be still (maybe days after you post them), I return to them when I need a boost. It’s all about the practice, isn’t it. We need to practice waiting, listening, sitting.

  3. I always read, contemplate, agree, enjoy, & return many times! You always seem to say the words either I need to hear or ones I’m thinking. I do find I’m a little more patient as I’ve aged but not always. Please be assured you are always helping us out here in cyber space – we appreciate it!!

  4. Thank you for the Patience article because I need it now more than ever! I try and I do better than I used to but sometimes having the common sense to sit back and wait is not always an easy thing to do.

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