Compass Resources for When You Are Out of Patience

Patience – the art of gracefully waiting. An invitation to slow down in a world that moves at a breakneck pace. A virtue that brings tranquility, understanding, and resilience amidst a culture obsessed with instant gratification. Sounds wonderful, right?

Despite its undeniable significance, patience often proves to be elusive. The modern world bombards us with endless distractions and constant demands, making it challenging to find stillness and maintain composure. That instant gratification culture we live in exacerbates our impatience, fostering a mindset that everything should happen instantaneously.

Drains on Patience

Each of us have personal patience drainers, the stressors unique to our lives that chip away at patience and leave us feeling short, and they change season by season. There are also universal patience drainers. In the age of social media and constant connectivity, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a continual challenge to patience as we compare our journeys to others’ highlight reels, creating an urgency to achieve success or milestones without allowing for natural growth and progress.

The fear of uncertainty can also test our patience. Life often presents us with unpredictable twists and turns, and our inability to control every outcome can make us feel anxious and restless. A quick google search for inspirational quotes about uncertainty will remind us that some of life’s most beautiful moments unfold when we embrace uncertainty and trust the process. And yet actually living out the practice of patience has remained a struggle for generations, which The University of Chicago Divinity School pointed out a mere couple of weeks into the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US in their article, “Patience in the Pandemic.”

Why is Patience Important?

In Scripture, Proverbs 14:29 states, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” If you value wisdom, patience is not only a sign of it, it’s a means to attain it. Romans 12:12 encourages believers to be patient in times of tribulation, stating, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Patience allows us to endure challenges and maintain hope during difficult times.

Research sheds light on the importance of patience. Dr. Sarah Schnitker, Psych and Neuro professor at Baylor University, has this to say about patience in her article “An examination of patience and well-being.”

Waiting is an unavoidable part of life; a poll reported in The Daily Telegraph found that the average Briton spends 5 h and 35 min each month – or six months of an average lifetime – standing in line (Britons Spent Six Months Queuing, 2009). Research shows that daily hassles and frustrations have a negative impact on physical health and well-being, perhaps of a greater magnitude than major life events (DeLongis, Coyne, Dakof, Folkman, & Lazarus, 1982). Given the pervasiveness of waiting and frustrating stimuli in daily life, research examining individual differences in how people react to such circumstances is needed to maximize human functioning. Initial evidence shows that patience is positively correlated with subjective well-being, positive coping, virtues, and thriving (Schnitker & Emmons, 2007)

Cultivating Patience

The act of patience amidst a fast-paced world requires us to slow down. The hustle and bustle of daily life drags us, like an unseen rip current, into a constant cycle of responsibilities, leaving little time for introspection. By pausing to assess our actions, emotions, and relationships, we gain clarity and make intentional decisions about the direction we want to take. Learning to slow down and take a reflective look at what is and is not working is an invaluable practice.

If you need help learning to slow down, consider attending a retreat with The Crucible Project. Through a supportive and transformative environment, participants are invited to engage in meaningful discussions, experiential exercises, and engage in community with like-minded individuals. These retreats create a sanctuary for reflection and grant participants the space and time necessary to gain valuable insights to build a more fulfilling, purposeful, and patient life.

Along with attending a retreat, here are a few other practices to consider in the act of building patience.

  1. Mindfulness and Prayer: Practice mindfulness and be present in the moment. Take a deep breath and focus on the here and now. Let go of worries about the past or the future, and relish the beauty of the present. Give them to God in prayer.
  2. Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that life has its own rhythm and pace. Set achievable goals and be kind to yourself if things take time. Patience is not about complacency; it’s about recognizing that progress can be gradual.
  3. Learn from Nature: Observe nature’s cycles – the blooming of a flower or the changing of seasons. Nature teaches us that growth and transformation occur naturally and at their own pace. Embrace the wisdom of the natural world.
  4. Seek Solace in Scripture: The Bible is filled with numerous passages that teach on patience and peace during challenging times. A place to start could be the YouVersion Bible app with several topical studies on patience.

In a fast-paced and demanding world, it’s crucial to recognize the challenges that test our patience and consciously adopt strategies to nurture it. By embracing the beauty of patience, we can find peace amidst chaos and savor the journey of life with gratitude and grace.