“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7, ESV)
Recently, I was enjoying daddy daughter date night with my daughter. The date consisted of a trip to an indoor amusement park. We chose indoors because it was a cold night. So when we arrived, we checked our coats at the coat check.
As we were preparing to leave the park, we went to retrieve our coats. There was one lady who was checking out. We took our place in line behind her and waited while the transaction was completed. Just as this lady was finishing, another lady jumped in front of us. I don’t think it was intentional. She seemed out of sorts and extremely disconcerted. You could see the stress and anxiety oozing out of her.
My first thoughts were: “Lady, who do you think you are?” I felt the urge to loudly say, “excuse me!” But in a split second, I thought better. I said to myself, “let it go. What is the hurry?” Here I was spending time with my daughter and this inconvenience would be the opportunity to spend a few more moments together. We had nowhere we needed to be. To make a big scene would not benefit anyone.
What is the rush?
Life passes by so quickly. But we are always in such a hurry to get somewhere. Life is not so much about the destination. It’s about the journey. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy each moment for what it is.
I remember as a kid that I could not wait for Christmas to come. But more often that not, the anticipation of Christmas was so much more exciting than Christmas itself. I think about so many memories surrounding Christmas. So many of those memories are not about Christmas day, but about the days leading up to Christmas. Why was I in such a rush for Christmas to arrive?
Think back to your past. Think of the moments you wish you could get back. Maybe it is time with the kids when they were little. Maybe it is time with a loved one that is no longer with us. In the same way, one day you will wish to have this time back. So allow yourself to linger in the moment now.
See the opportunity through inconvenience
When you are inconvenienced, consider the opportunity that might be presenting itself. The extra time in the coat check line was some extra time to spend with my daughter. Getting caught in that traffic jam is a few more minutes to enjoy my audiobook in the car. Getting stuck in the line at the grocery store is potentially an opportunity to connect with a person you would not have been able to interact. Losing the internet connection on your phone is an opportunity to look up from the screen to see the amazing creation around you. Sometimes that interruption is a gentle nudging by God to experience something greater.
Instant anything is rarely better than the real deal. Instant my be convenient, but never as sweet. A slow and home-cooked meal is always better than fast food. What you loose in quick you gain in quality. The challenge for you is to focus on what you gain rather than what you lose when you are inconvenienced.
Intentionally practice patience
I live a just outside busy Manhattan. When we take trips into the city, I enjoy people watching. Just grab a bench in Bryant Park and watch the people walk by. One word that describes Manhattan is busy. There is so much that is happening all at once. Maybe nothing gives me more a sense of peace than being in the middle of the busyness with nowhere to be and nothing to accomplish.
So many of us are so focused on what we are doing, that we fail to notice everything around us. Be present in the moment. Look for ways you can slow down, so you start to see inconveniences as blessings rather than curses.
- Where do you find impatience in your life?
- How do you intentionally practice patience?
- What inconveniences in your life became blessings in disguise?