Checking that Christmas Attitude: Impatience

im_waitingContinued from here.

At no other time of year do I see so many indicators of impatience when I am out and about. I never hear so many cars blaring their horns or see so many cars racing through parking lots, often as they are speeding down the rows going in the wrong direction. People are racing through the stores with tense looks on their faces as they navigate through the crowds. I see tapping feet and multiple checks of the watch while people impatiently wait in long lines. While the Christmas songs speak of the joys of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, joy is not the word I would use to describe the attitudes I see in the local stores at this time of year.

Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit. The Bible frequently admonishes God’s people to be patient. When we participate in blaring our horns, racing through parking lots, and bowling other shoppers over in our race to the checkout line, we are not exhibiting the Christian walk. Our attitudes need to be different from the World’s.

Learning patience did not come easily to me. I actually prayed for patience, which I recommend against doing unless you are prepared to wait a lot. After all, how can someone develop patience without having to wait? God is patient, as was Jesus during his time on this earth. If you call yourself a Christian, you need to develop the fruit of patience.

The antidote to impatience is actively extending grace, which happens as you practice humility. (This does not come easily to me, either.) Remember that every person you interact with in a crowded store is someone Jesus loves enough to die for. Thus, you also need to extend love to that person, even when she’s counting out pennies to pay for her purchase with 10 people impatiently waiting in line behind her. Rather than thinking about what you would like to do with that penny jar, pray for God to help you see this person through His eyes. Be the one person in line who smiles rather than glares at her. Communicate through your body language that she is loved rather than an annoyance.

This is a situation where I find it helpful to have memorized large passages of Scripture. As I recite Scripture in my head, I find it easier to extend grace. I also find it easier when I meditate on a Christian song. Get your focus off yourself and the bottleneck in front of you and, instead, place it on God, where it belongs.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with her hand on her hip by an hour glass, saying, “I’m Waiting.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]