How to Practice the Virtue of Patience in Your Family
We struggle with the virtue of patience because our culture has created an atmosphere of instant gratification. How can we learn to put patience into practice while living in a “right now” world?
“I want to ride bikes, Mommy!”
My three-year-old pleads with me as we’re riding the elevator up to our apartment.
“Not right now, John. We have to put the groceries away.”
“Noooo! I want to ride bikes now!” He screams a little more and throws himself on the floor.
After a few minutes, the fact that we won’t be riding bikes settles in. He whines, gets up, and follows me into our place.
Even from infancy, patience isn’t a word that we quite understand. It’s not a practice that comes naturally. If anything, no matter how old we are, we often detest the very word and act itself.
I feel like this is one of the hardest virtues and spiritual disciplines to live out because often:
- I need the person standing in front of me to move out of the way because I have two screaming children and need to check out my groceries.
- I want God to lead and guide our family, right now, to His perfect will for our lives
- I want my friendships to grow on a deeper level, now.
- I want to see the physical results immediately from the strength training class I take every week.
- I need God to heal the broken and sinful areas in my heart, right now. Why does sanctification have to be such a process?
- I want all my dreams to be fulfilled now because time is of the essence.
Our concept of time is so different from God’s. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Timing doesn’t thwart His plans or throw him off schedule. Thankfully, He’s told us a lot about patience in His Word, one being that we have to put it on. He knew that patience wouldn’t exactly be a part of our daily wardrobe- naturally speaking.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… Col. 3:12
There it is. A command that we must follow and obey as His beloved children.
Holy. Chosen. Beloved.
Truth is, He is taking care of you. You don’t need to fret about the things you can’t see clearly or the prayers that have been left unanswered. If you and I are to put on patience, then that means we must take off any impatience, anxious thoughts, pride, irritability, anger, and more. Any sin that hinders us from living the life God intends.
In the book Faith That Does Not Falter, Elisabeth Elliot writes:
We want answers now, right now, but we are required at times to walk in darkness.
If God requires us to walk in seasons of darkness in our family, then we know that eventually, His light will shine through and prayers will be answered according to His good and perfect will.
Keep trusting. Keep hoping. Keep putting on patience.
Like what you read? Read more of Samantha’s writing in her book Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches