Practicing Patience

I went for a massage last Saturday and it seems my Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) was having “one of those days“. Do you know what I mean? One of those days where lots of little things went wrong. I could relate because I’ve been having one of those days for a couple of weeks now. And when I have a lot of tension a massage is one of life’s luxuries that I feel is a necessity. Turns out there was a message in the massage.

My LMT started relating her experiences to me of earlier that morning – and since I felt I might be able to help her – and so she wouldn’t take it out too much in the process of performing massage on me – well, I decided to listen closely and then offer some cheerful comments to lift her mood. At least I thought I would. Turns out though, as she talked we both began to realize what the issue was, and we both needed to learn and remind ourselves to practice… patience. Ah, a lesson and a great massage too!

She and I, maybe many of us, need to practice patience. Everyday.

Perhaps we say we have patience. Maybe we have patience with ourselves, but get annoyed with others when they don’t move as fast as we want them to, do the job correctly the first time, or trust us to live up to our word. I’ve been told by people I’ve worked with over the years that I have “the patience of Job”. (Referencing the story of Job in the Bible). So, I’ll give you a Bible verse I like, Matthew 6:8 – here it is:

Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Now I know this verse has been and could continue to be interpreted and applied in many ways to our every day life. The way I like to think of it is, since God knows what we have need of before we ask then God doesn’t want us to worry. Worry makes us sick. Worry tires us. When we’re rushing around, we’re worried that we aren’t going to get something done, meet someone, or get some place, on time. We worry we’ll be late for a very important date. Why? Worry implies we care more about what someone else thinks of us, than we think of ourselves.

So, I’m practicing patience. To let go of the need to please others. Sure I like to arrive at work on time. And I like to show my boss that I go about urgent tasks, with a sense of urgency. However, all that stress, day after day, leads me to stress my body. It only hurts me in the long run. I don’t know about you but I can’t remember ever getting a raise, or promotion due to rushing around. Yes, consistent good performance, and meeting milestones at work – actually accomplishing things, that can bring rewards but I can always take time to breathe, to focus, to strive to understand, know the details – even if that takes me a few minutes longer. Taking my time means my work will be done correctly. Rushing may lead to errors. I’d rather have my work be clear, detailed, and accurate, than fast.

My LMT wished she hadn’t left her office keys at the post office when she went to check her mail. Her waiting client was patient with her though – maybe he’d once left his keys somewhere.

I bumped into a concrete post and put a small dent in the bumper of my husband’s truck – because I had to drop off my car key to a store that hadn’t correctly installed a part on my car the day before (meaning I shouldn’t have had to return there had they done their job properly the first time). I’m glad my husband doesn’t get upset over things like that. Whew! I had a friend damage one of my cars years ago and she didn’t feel a bit sorry – unfortunately I was irritated about it for a long time. I learned those feelings aren’t good for me to carry around.

A company I’m doing business with is threatening to sue me over a particular clause in a contract that I’d signed too quickly and apparently without fully considering the ramifications. They have no reason to sue me of course as I didn’t break our contract – but because I told them I was unhappy and didn’t want to do business together anymore they’re jumping to conclusions and threatening me. I guess it makes no difference that I’ve acted in good faith with full disclosure. It makes no difference that they’ll continue to make money by my association with them. It doesn’t matter either that they made mistakes – mistakes that have caused me to want to end our relationship. All of that leaves me feeling a bit disempowered, as well as aggravated, annoyed, grumpy, and angry. I’m honoring my feelings by venting and getting it out in the most healthy way I know, writing. I can’t put a positive spin on the experience yet, but because I have faith I believe I can let go of it – one day.

I believe, as Jesus Christ commanded, it’s important to love our neighbor as ourselves. So I must love myself. I love myself when I honor all of my feelings. I’m not loving myself too much if by rushing around and stressing my body I make myself sick. Or if I deny my anger.

This brings me to my other interpretation of that same Bible scripture I quoted above. Since God already knows what we have need of that must mean our prayers are only a form of obedience to God’s Word.

Isn’t it interesting that typical prayers keep us focused on the lack of whatever it is we’re praying for?

Example: when we pray for someone to be healed it’s because they or others have told us they are sick. When we pray for someone to have a safe journey we are thinking of the unsafe things which could occur on their trip. We ought to be praying with FAITH which means… Believing What We’re Asking Has Already Been Accomplished! Focus and feel we already possess whatever it is we are asking for as if we already have it.
Belief activates faith. Take it upon yourself to practice patience daily.
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