How many times have you seen someone rewarded for their patience? Society doesn’t often reward patience, but it does feed into instant gratification. The airport is a place where we see people’s patience tested all the time. How often do we see happy, patient people in airports?
I remember when TSA pre-check was created as a way to cut down on the security line. People could pay a fee to get their background checked and then bypass the main security line. If you have TSA pre-check you no longer have to take off your shoes, or remove liquids and electronics from your bag. Less waiting, faster moving.
In recent years, CLEAR, has now become the pre-check to the TSA pre-check. Again, for an additional fee you can bypass the TSA pre-check and with CLEAR you can now “beat the line.”
So what does it mean for us to cultivate patience in our lives when it seems counter intuitive to the messages we receive in society? Patience is a characteristic of the Spirit, and like all the characteristics it needs to be tended to and worked. Patience is the very thing it needs in order to grow. How do we become patient with ourselves and others when instant gratification is a real struggle?
“Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other.” - 1 Thes. 5:14
Slowing down is a good thing. It’s one way we can be attentive to others, encourage people, and begin to cultivate patience so we don’t snap at one another. If society slowed down, and the pressure to rush through life was taken away, imagine what that would do to people.
As we practice patience, it’s important to understand that as we cultivate patience in our own lives, other people are also cultivating patience toward us. I can think of countless times where I have had to exercise patience toward my family, but I also know my actions have been cause for my family to exercise patience with me.
We are called to be patient with one another, and we need patience to put up with others at times, but we also need understanding that others are exercising their patience to put up with us.
Where do you see room in your life to slow down and be more attentive to another person’s needs? If you find yourself in a situation where you can exercise patience, see if you notice any difference in the way you are feeling? Then ask yourself, what is it in slowing down that brings on those feelings?