HOW TO DEVELOP PATIENCE

We all want to grow the spiritual fruit of patience—or at least our family members want us to. Just like fruit on the vine, spiritual fruit doesn’t pop up overnight. It takes time to grow and cultivate patience, but—also like gardening—not without any work.

There will always be situations we’re unwillingly forced to wait in, so we need to discipline ourselves before those occasions arrive. Each of us can choose to place ourselves in situations and circumstances that help us let go of our own timelines and practice patience.

In her book on spiritual disciplines, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun defines the practice of pursuing patience as a discipline of “slowing” that helps curb our addiction to immediate gratification. She asks us to search our hearts for how deeply we need patience, questioning,

“How do you feel about being stuck behind cars that go slowly? How do you react to a slow sales clerk? What is your response to children who dawdle?”

What’s the solution to our impatience? Choose to live more slowly and we’ll train ourselves to trust God’s perfect timing, to resist “spiritual shortcuts,” and to recognize that God’s unseen work simply takes time.

Below are some of her suggestions and more:

1 // Drive in the slow lane.

2 // Choose the longest line at the grocery store.

3 // Eat more slowly.

4 // Sit at the table after dinner and talk.

5 // Take a longer shower.

6 // Create buffer time in between appointments.

7 // Read the Bible slowly, taking time to consider each word and phrase.

8 // Drive the long way home.

9 // Invite your kids to help with a task.

10 // Call someone on the phone instead of texting.

This post was adapted from content in Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s book, “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us.”

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