Marriage,  Patience,  The Virtuous Life

5 Ways to Exercise Patience Today

We’re continuing our series on The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife. Today is part two in the discussion on the virtue of patience. See the table of contents at the end of this article. 
The year was 1989. It was our second year of marriage, and we set up house on the eleventh floor of a twelve story apartment building.
I remember being second from the top. The man who lived above us liked to bang the life out of his balcony railing, while kicking and screaming at the top his lungs.
It was therapy, we were told. He needed an outlet to vent his frustration and the balcony was the closest thing he had to an open field.
It didn’t bother us so much as it humored us. And since he only vented while the sun was up we weren’t losing any sleep.
We were however losing sleep over a completely different matter.
The rock band Guns N’ Roses released a hit song that year called “Patience.” I was never a Guns N’ Roses fan, but I came to like the song. The gentle ballad starts out with Axl Rose whistling the tune accompanied by three acoustic guitars.
“Shed a tear cause I’m missing you, I’m still alright to smile… all we need is just a little patience.”
It was catchy. Every one at work was whistling the tune and every kid with a guitar was picking out the melody–including our next door neighbors.
Technically they weren’t next door. They lived across the hall from us and from what I could tell, our bathroom vents were somehow connected. I’d often hear them playing guitar while I was curling my hair or brushing my teeth. From the sounds of it, they only knew one song, which they played over and over again.
Being a musician, you’d think my husband would enjoy it. But he didn’t. Like water wearing down a rock, the constant strum of their guitar and the boom, boom, boom from their stereo got under his skin.
I remember lying in bed at night sound asleep. Michael would sit up and say, “What’s that sound?”

I couldn’t hear anything at all, but apparently he could hear music and it was driving him crazy. So crazy that we finally moved out.

Isn’t it ironic that “patience” is the very thing that got under his skin?
That’s how life is though isn’t it? When something is troubling us we want it resolved as soon as possible. The trying of our patience is one of the most difficult things for us to endure, but it builds character in those who are exercised by it. 
In Romans chapter five, Paul writes,

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope. – Romans 5: 2-4

Guitars playing at two in the morning–that’s nothing really. But serious tribulations, the kind that rip through your home, leaving you discouraged and dismayed call for incredible patience was we cling to the Lord for a sense of peace.

This level of patience doesn’t come easy, but it is a virtue that we can exercise day in and day out. There’s a constant call to patience in every one of our lives.

It can be anything from the way we present ourselves in rush hour traffic to the way we handle our emotions when we disagree with our husband. A kind word goes a long way in diffusing an argument. Sometimes we feel like our opinion needs to be expressed right then and there regardless of his emotions, but having a little patience and waiting for an opportune time to bring up the discussion again might be a wiser decision.

Are we holding our temper? Are we biting our tongue? Are we looking at life with a glass half full of grace?

Practicing the little things prepare us for the bigger things in life.

Let’s look at five ways to exercise patience today:

1. Ride the burn. We all want instant gratification, and when we don’t get it we feel the burn. I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I can feel a physical reaction when I’m exercising patience and it’s uncomfortable. Say for example I’m angry at a friend and I desperately want to vent my frustration. My heart races and my head spins. Kind of like when I can’t have the extra calories I want.

It’s like an internal temper tantrum. But what it really comes down to is that my spirit is at war with my flesh. Ride it out and it will go away. Once you’re thinking clearly, you can respond wisely.

2. Pray without ceasing. Prayer is not a last resort–it’s the first and most important destination of any journey that we take. Some people only go to God when they’re desperate, other’s are desperate to seek Him every day.

Never under-estimate the power that He holds to not only change a situation, but to create an outcome that’s beyond anything you could imagine for yourself.

3. Grab a pen and paper. Pull out a journal and start writing down some of the scriptures on patience. Look them up online or in a concordance and see where God is speaking to you.

4. Remind yourself that you’re developing character. This one is key, and the reason why is because your attitude will not be dependent on the attitude of another. Don’t mirror the impatient actions of those around you. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Consider the patience and persistence that He had and strive to be like Him alone.

5. Ask yourself how you can glorify God. Sometimes you might have a split second to ask this question, but the more you get used to asking it, the more it will come naturally to you. Ask yourself how you can glorify God in this situation and remind yourself that this life is not about you. That’s a difficult one to remember, but when we consider that everything we do is for the glory of God, attitudes change.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. – James 1:2-4

The schedule for this series
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 1
Week 2 – Purity Pt. 2
Week 3 – Self Control Pt. 1
Week 3 – Self Control Pt. 2
Week 4 – Love Pt. 1
Week 4 – Love Pt. 2
Week 5 – Diligence Pt. 1
Week 5 – Diligence Pt. 2
Week 6 – Patience Pt. 1
Week 6 – Patience Pt. 2

You are loved by an almighty God,

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