Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Deal with Impatience

I am an impatient person.

And I'm struggling with it right now.

I have a ministry. But I don't know who I am supposed to minister to, or in what way. This time since leaving my job is supposed to be figuring this out, waiting on God.

It's been just over a month, but honestly, I've been impatient since the two week mark.

I am pretty sure God is teaching me patience, and doubtless there is other stuff to learn before launching my ministry too. Which is why I've spent time on the "inner excavation" led by Liz Lamoreux.

And why on leaving my job, my friend has reminded me to remember to honor the process and have patience. When she sees me, she reminds me: "P! P!" (and at first I thought she needed directions to the bathroom, but she knew the location so what was she saying?  Ohhh.... Process. Patience.)

I asked a monk for counsel. The upshot was that when ever I feel myself getting impatient, I have a choice: continue to be impatient and give that energy or pray the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me").

Ann Voskamp wrote about patience, reminding us of the Corinthians verse: "Love is patient" and that patience comes via being grateful. She doesn't spell this out, but being grateful comes from being reminded of God's love.

Patience, it seems to me, can be thus a spiritual practice.

The Jesus Prayer, with its steady breathing in on the first half of the prayer and out on the second half. (I've talked about that already here.) Praying it helps to calm, and it helps bring the mind back to where it should be: on God.

Then I can see with fresh eyes: the God-created personhood of whoever I'm impatient with, and as Ann said, be grateful for who/what's in that situation, and then patience comes.

So this is what I'm trying right now. I just need to remember to call upon these tools when I'm in the midst of impatience or frustration.

How do you deal with impatience?

1 comment:

Leanne said...

I wrote this last week. I just finished five days in an icon writing class and just got home. Pretty sure God has officially taught me patience.

Yup, yup. But more on that and icon writing next week.