I want to share with you some helpful tips to help you be more patient. My first tip is prayer, but don't just pray for patience. I am sure you all heard the preacher's story about the guy who prayed for patience, and he lost his job, his house burned down and he had a flat tire, all in the same day. Of course, that's a myth, but many of us have a concern about praying for patience.
If you are not intentionally trying to grow patience, the process may be more painful than it needs to be. However, if you desire to grow in this particular spiritual fruit, I have a safe prayer for patience that you can pray. "Lord, I ask you to help me to respond patiently to today."
This prayer can help if done every day. You can add, "I want to express your patient love toward ______ today. God, I know they are Your child. You were beaten and died for any sin they committed today. Please God; let me express your patience today in ______.
The second tip that will move you toward patience is through detachment. Many of us can fall into a really bizarre belief pattern. They may believe that someone is deliberately trying to be offensive or purposely causing them pain. Oh, I know every once in a while, many of us get in a mood where we deliberately try to frustrate or anger someone by doing something because of our lack of patience. It's important that you don't make all their annoying behavior all about you. It's not all about you. They are honestly just being their human, sin-fallen self.
Detachment allows you take a step back and diffuse yourself. You will probably have to say it out loud, "This is not about me. This is who they are. They are not trying to be mean or spiteful, they're just being themselves." If you can step back, you can take whatever the behavior is more patiently.
How you personally frame their behavior is largely how you will respond. If you see it as a personal attack and that they are out to get you, the response you have will most likely be less patient. But if you can frame it as them simply being themselves, you might be detached enough to be patient.
How you see their behavior is your choice. They do not control how you view them. You can control how you view their behaviors as part of the blessing of being an imperfect and human and not view it as an all-out alien attack to steal the joy out of your life.
Spouses especially must refuse to view their partner's annoying quirks as deliberate offenses. This is a choice: to refuse your previous interpretation of their behavior and choose a more gentle and patient way to view them.
After you apply prayer and detachment, a third tip I would offer in the area of patience is to "stop." That is, stop believing and behaving as if you have the power to change them. First, God has never commanded you to change anyone. He has only called you to love.
God, Himself, alone can change a person. We have limited powers of change. The limits of your power are to change yourself. Beyond changing yourself, you are powerless. You are, and are forever, powerless to change any human being.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, The 7 Love Agreements. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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