Lessons in Patience

The past 15 months has taught me that there is nothing like a big trial to teach your patience!

 

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Waiting Can Be Hard

Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and at times, bitter. . I remember when my husband died I so desperately wanted to know and have so many things fixed.

  • What happened with the accident?
  • What is the purpose of this trial?
  • How will I continue on?
  • What will my life look like now in the future?
  • What should I do now?

These were the questions that plagued my mind and troubled my thoughts.  I desperately wanted answers, and I wanted them RIGHT NOW!  How could God deny me answers?  After all, He had taken my husband. Fifteen months later I look at my life.  Holy cow! It is nothing like I envisioned it to be. I would have never guessed the things that would transpire, or are currently in the works. This different direction for my life is not bad either; in fact, I think it is turning out much better than my original fix-it plan. However, in the beginning, I wouldn’t have been able to accept all of this.  I wasn’t ready yet.  Time, experience and study had to carve out a place in my heart for change and acceptance.  I had growing to do first before I was ready for answers.

“Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.”

If we, as God’s children, are ever going to mature and reach our potential, we must learn to wait. For it is in that waiting that we grow and mature.

Patience Isn’t Merely Waiting

 If we are simply sitting in the mud, then we aren’t going anywhere!  There were days, especially early one when I wanted to just sit in the mud and cry out that life was just not fair.  (Which, by the way, is totally true!  However, life was also never intended to be fair.  It’s purpose is to  teach and perfect us.)
 
I found that sitting in the mud only made me cold and dirty and did nothing to alleviate my problems or bring me closer to answers.  Being the proactive person that I am, I decided that doing something would help pass the time and was better than doing nothing.

Patience is persistently, steadily and consistently working.

My answers didn’t come quickly, but with patience, they did come.

 
“I learned that patience was far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort

 

Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude,even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well.” -Deieter F Utchdorf

 

In the process of actively waiting, working, hoping, and exercising faith we learn to give up a bit of our  ‘center of the universe’ syndrome.  We get rid of some of our self-absoprtion and selfishness. Once I decided to get up from the mud, I began to look around, and I realized there were other people who were hurting too.  I began to see that by sharing my hurt and the lessons that I was learning that I was able to help other people heal.  The joy of helping others, in turn, helped me to heal.  While I was waiting for the answers I focused on listening to the spirit and doing what it prompted me to do.  Miraculously, trying to help others gave me the very answers I sought. It created the place in my heart to receive them.

If you give grace, you receive grace.

I found that the only way that I was able to help and influence people was if I was being patient with them.  So in patiently waiting on the Lord, I learned also to be patient with others.  I knew this process was taking me time, so I began to see that other people needed time to work through their difficulties. God was being patient with me, so I needed to be patient with them.

“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained…, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.” D&C 121: 2

My caring and my patience was making a difference in the lives of the people I was serving.
 

Caring creates faith in others by allowing them to feel God’s love, creating a place in their hearts to receive.

“As the Lord is patient with us, let us be patient with those we serve. Understand that they, like us, are imperfect. They, like us, make mistakes. They, like us, want others to give them the benefit of the doubt. Never give up on anyone and that includes not giving up on yourself!” – Deiter F Utchdorf

 Patience Means…

  • Staying with something until the end.
  • Delaying immediate gratification for future blessings.
  • Accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith.
  • Being “willing to submit to allthings which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.
  • Being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord” every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so.

“The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls.   Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls.   (see Luke 21:19)”

It is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most.

The Lord Blesses Us for Our Patience

I remember one time in particular this year that I felt the spirit tell me not to do something that I very badly wanted to do.  It was really hard to obey that prompting, but I knew that if I was obedient that I would be blessed.  I followed the prompting and then I cried.  I cried for a while.  Then I moved forward and waited for the blessing.

 

As it turned out, what I thought would happen did not happen.  In fact, my actions really helped someone that I cared about.  Furthermore, I gained some valuable knowledge and experience that later helped me with my sister.

 

If I wouldn’t have obeyed that quiet prompting and instead done what I wanted to do, for a small moment I may have felt some happiness, but in the end I would have missed out on something far better.

 

Being obedient and patiently waiting for those blessings is worth every moment of waiting in the end.

 

“To paraphrase the Psalmist of old, if we wait patiently for the Lord, He will incline unto us. He will hear our cries. He will bring us out of a horrible pitand set our feet upon a solid rock. He will put a new song in our mouths, and we will praise our God. Many around us will see it, and they will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3

  Never give up. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness.

Questions to Ponder:

1. How can learning patience be an asset to future relationships?

2. How does understanding the purpose of patience help you want to practice patience?

3. How can you better demonstrate patience?

Check out this post in the Patience Badge

References:

Elder Uchtdorf’s talk “Continue in Patience”

 

I was 38 years old and the mother of 3 teenaged sons and a 10 year-old daughter when I became a widow. My fairy tale world was shattered. I lost my best friend and the love of my life. In that moment I knew I could choose, choose to sink into the darkness of despair, or I could choose to turn to the Lord for understanding and direction. I chose the light and it has made all of the difference. I share my story, what I have learned this life is all about and how I have refound purpose and direction in the hopes of helping others who are struggling. I am determined that when I meet my husband again that we will say, this was worth it. We will look at the learning and the good this tragedy accomplished, and we will say, this was not for naught.

Not For Naught: A Young Widow’s Journey

spouse and father-in-law died in a plane crash 11/2012.

   

 

Comments

  1. wrote on February 5th, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Unknown

    Thank you! This gave me some answers I needed!! — Angeline J