How I’m Learning to Love Patience

I’m waiting for my time to come.
Waiting for the curtain to fall.
I could lose my cool like a restless fool, but I’m waiting for my time to come.

– Colony House

I was first approached about the job opportunity at the end of January. My interview didn’t take place until the first week of May.

Around that same time, my boyfriend and I were deciding whether or not to continue our relationship. And when I say “we,” I really mean I was waiting for him to make a decision about us.

Those few months (which felt like a few hundred years) held quite a bit of anxiety and suspense as I faced a great deal of uncertainty in two of the most important areas of my life.

It was a long four months.

We learn early on that waiting is just part of life.

Waiting until you’re old enough to do the things you can’t as a child. Waiting for him to text . . . and then to ask you out. Waiting to hear back from the colleges you applied to. Waiting to graduate. Waiting to hear back from the job you interviewed for. Waiting to find the right person. Waiting for a child to be born . . .

Patience means you are free from the burden of fear or worry about the future.

Waiting in line at the grocery store. Waiting to save up for a car or a house or a vacation. Waiting for your nails to dry. Waiting for the light to turn green. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for me to make my point (I’m getting there I promise).

Waiting can be mildly annoying (ex: traffic) to downright excruciating (ex: waiting for someone to break up with you).

But waiting doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it shouldn’t. Because waiting is such a big part of life, we want to not only come to terms with it but also experience peace and even experience joy there in the wait.

How?

Patience. The practice of accepting delay, suffering, or trouble gracefully—without getting angry or upset.

I know, “patience is a virtue” and whatnot—you already know this.

But what is the point? Why do we care about this? What does a virtue (like patience) do?

I could say it makes you a better person, which is nice, but when you’re sick and tired and frustrated beyond belief, this may not bring you much comfort.

I don’t blame you.

The reality is that patience does make you a better person (employee, friend, spouse, parent, driver . . . ), but patience also enables you to enjoy life, despite uncertainty, fears, and the increasingly long list of ‘“not now’s” we face day in and day out.

Patience means accepting that you are not in control of everything—most especially other people.
Patience means you are free from the burden of fear or worry about the future.
Patience means you can live in the moment, you can live for today.
Patience means you can be hopeful even in uncertainty.
Patience means you can embrace the adventure that life is.
Patience allows you to love mystery and live fully: you don’t know, you’re not “there” yet, and that’s okay.

Life, in a very real way, is waiting for one thing or another. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. You can love the wait!

Theoretically, patience sounds like a good thing. But how do you live it? Most of us are familiar with the concept of patience but don’t actually know how to be more patient.

Like any good thing, it takes practice.

. . . Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

JK, you probably did . . . #predictable

Here are some ways I practice patience:

Still mornings

Getting up early and taking time to read, pray, and reflect has helped me immensely. I can carry that stillness with me into the rest of my day, even when the hours seem to be crawling by.

Painting my nails

When I manage to wait long enough for them to dry completely, I am giddy from the small victory.

Running

I want to have it done already, but I strive to pay attention to the pretty leaves, the music I’m listening to, or my breathing, instead of how much I want the run to be over. (Walks work for this, too.)

Fasting

It’s a great discipline that feeds into every area of your life. Giving up solid foods every once in a while has taught me a lot about the strength that lies in denying yourself something you really want right now.

Putting off purchases

There are so many things I want. Blankets, wall decorations, frames, clothes, shoes . . . I limit myself to only a couple of these types of “miscellaneous” purchases each month. Holding off buying that really cute or cozy or impractical [fill in the blank] can be frustrating, but it’s definitely easier on my wallet. And ultimately, I know I can live without it (at least until next month).

Reading

When I first started to read more frequently, my inclination was to get frustrated with how long it takes me to get through one book. As I continue to persevere, I’m learning to be okay with the fact that Gone with the Wind is most likely going to take me until Christmas to finish. And I will love every second of it.

Mindfulness

I aim to do one mindfulness meditation each day (hopefully that will increase eventually). Sitting still trying to think of nothing for ten minutes is possibly one of the most difficult things I’ll ever do, but it is essential to the art of being present. If you’re not sure where to start, you can use this resource to begin learning how to practice mindfulness.


Here’s the thing, I don’t want to wait my life away. I don’t want to spend my days just trying to make it to 5:00 p.m. I don’t want to spend my weeks daydreaming about the weekend. I don’t want to wish away my single life. I don’t want to hate my commute or stare at my phone hoping for a response. I want to live now.

I want to live patiently, savoring every second.

Those four months were dreadful. My career and relationship were hanging in the balance and there was nothing I could do . . . except wait.

And wait I did. And I’m still waiting. Because even though I eventually lost the boy and got the job, the wait isn’t over.

Those four months taught me that life, in a very real way, is waiting for one thing or another. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. I can love the wait.

I’m waiting for 5:00 p.m., I’m waiting for Friday, I’m waiting to go home and see my family again, I’m waiting to meet someone . . .

Waiting doesn’t mean worrying. As much as I can, I want to be #carefree—and patience is helping me get there, one moment at a time.

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