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Cultivate patience as you face trials

 

By Corrie Lynn Player

Apr. 12, 2018

 

I’ve written several columns about cultivating gratitude for trials, having faith and waiting on the Lord. A related topic is cultivating patience in this world of increasing impatience, incivility and downright nastiness.

Patience is a virtue, one which refines the spirit.

It builds inner strength and enhances relationships.

Although it’s a virtue I try to cultivate, I have a long way to go toward making it part of my character!

For example, I found the following journal entry I wrote a few years ago during my mother’s last illness.

Last night I took Mama to the bathroom at 11:30 and was in bed by midnight. Then my intercom phone jolted me out of a sound sleep about 2 a.m. Mama said, “I’m peeing. What should I do?”

I heaved a huge sigh and stumbled downstairs.

I said, “You have heavy pads on. So I don’t have to get up with you every two hours!”

I was irritated and spoke sharply to her.

She hung her head, saying, “I’m sorry. Shall I just go back to sleep?”

Still irritated, I told her to get up, “now that I’m standing here,” and marched her into the bathroom.

My anger was evident, and I’m sure she felt it.

As she sat on the toilet, she pulled off one pad. I gave her another and I told her to count how many she had altogether (four).

Then I asked her how many she wore during the day when she went potty every two hours (one).

I need to apologize for my impatience and reassure her that I love her and am glad she’s living with me. No matter how difficult, I shouldn’t let my tired body dictate how I treat my mother.

As I read those words, I cried, because Mama no longer calls me at 2 a.m. I can sleep through the night without interruption.

I wish I could go back and change my irritated response, but I can’t. I can’t even change what I said or did five minutes ago.

The years of caring for Mama have ended, and I’m at a different place in my life.

I’ve learned that expressing impatience or other negative emotions to my family is hurtful—for them and for me.

I’m learning I must turn such feelings over to my Savior, Jesus Christ. He will accept them and heal my heart by granting me a portion of who He is.

I don’t have to endure pain and guilt for something I truly regret.

Like some folks, you might think that anger, irritation, annoyance, etc., shouldn’t be suppressed or they’ll make you sick.

In reality, such emotions can, over time, cause depression, anxiety and other physical or mental illnesses, which is why I advocate that you turn your sorrows over to God and His Son.

Placing your burdens at His feet involves a whole lot more than wanting the pain to go away, however.

It takes prayer—looking to Him constantly and steadfastly instead of at yourself so you lay aside the “old man” and put on the “new man,” meaning the power of the mind, heart and spirit of Christ.

It takes study—studying His character, His love and His word in faith so you are truly transformed in the process.

It takes work—stepping outside yourself and working with Him to reach out to others who need solace and service.

Take a deep breath, pray for the strength to curb your tongue and acknowledge your complete dependence on and need for Help from Above.