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Learning Patience

Almost daily, I pass this traffic light as I set forth on any journey out of Leidschendam.
More often than not (it seems to me) it is red, just like you see above.
Recently, I had an experience, that I’m sure many may be able to relate too.
For those of you who know me well, I have a propensity to be prompt!
Early one morning last week, as we were setting off just a little late for interviews in Rotterdam, we got halfway towards this light and then realised that we’d forgotten something in the house. A quick turnaround, and then we were back on our way.
To get to the motorway, there are four sets of traffic lights that we encounter.
The first one above, is a bit of a bottleneck, as it leads to a narrow bridge where only one vehicle can cross at a time, hence the set of traffic lights at either side. That morning, it was at red. After a few minutes of patiently waiting, we crossed the bridge
100 metres further, is traffic light number 2, at a T-Junction. Again, it was at red. We waited once again for a couple of minutes before it turned green.
Turning right, we travelled another 200 metres and approached traffic light number 3. What a surprise, yep…red again. It was another minute or two before it turned green.
Turning left, I approached the final set of traffic lights at a major intersection with lights galore. My light was of course red – it had to be! By this time, I’m feverishly watching the lights to see when it is going to be our turn to move. 2 minutes felt like forever.
Four red in a row…. ☹
One interesting fact, that morning, we were the first car (in a line of cars) at every light, meaning that on every occasion we approached the traffic lights that morning, they had just turned red!

The lesson! 😊

I think I have finally (I hope) learned that it is not the traffic – it is me!
Over the years I understand that it is not what happens in your day that makes you mad, it’s who you are and how you handle what happens in your day that makes the difference.
Patience means actively waiting and enduring trials well.
Delays help me with one great lesson – 𝐏𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞!
The Apostle Paul gave the purpose of patience in his epistle to the Saints in Rome, in Romans 5:3-4 we read; “We glory in tribulations … knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”
I believe that being patient is a divine attribute and for many of us it may take many years to develop fully.
We should learn to be patient with ourselves.
In what area of your life do you struggle to be patient?

Signs of Progress

How do you measure progress?
After 9 weeks of immersion in the culture of Belgium and the Netherlands, something significant, yet very subtle happened in my head this week.
For several weeks, I hear the Dutch language and then translate what I hear into English.
In order to respond, I then translate my English thinking into Dutch.
This week though, things started to change – just a little.
I am beginning to think in Dutch… 🙂
What a difference it makes!
The result?
I am even struggling to recall some simple English words and replacing them with Dutch ones!
The transition is starting to happen!
Don’t get me wrong, I have still lots of learning, but genuinely feel after some tough weeks, that I am making some progress.
So how do you measure progress?
…One day at a time! And then recognising the change.
When I’m dreaming in Dutch – that will be a real sign!
And for our new missionary arrivals next week, remember to speak it every day – that is so crucial. There is hope!!

Don’t Give Up!

Tuesday morning my brain was completely fried due to the complexity of a piece of virtual #facilitation.

“My, oh my, this is tortuous!” I thought.

Then came feelings of self doubt, fear, anxiety and a resignation that I simply couldn’t get my head around what was expected. I became a little grumpy….(well maybe a big bit!)

Consulting with a few other virtual facilitators, they felt exactly the same…(even more scary, and now even more grumpy too!)

I persevered.
Then I persevered a little more.
And still even more.

With a little more effort, a little more #patience, a little more #persistence and some practice & experimentation thrown in too for good measure, eventually…it started to make a little more sense.

By Wednesday afternoon, I’d cracked it! I was overcome with a huge sense of relief and started dancing around the living room.

This morning, as I get back online for the last rounds of the virtual facilitation, I am actually looking forward (and just a little excited too) about the day ahead. And I’ll have a bit of fun too!

Being taken of your comfort zone into your stretch zone, can be very painful at times – I can testify of that! Yet, strangely it also brings a great sense of accomplishment, once you achieve the goal.

Have you been stretched recently?

Developing Patience

“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time” – Abraham Lincoln.

Reflecting this morning on the last 6 months since lockdown on March 23rd, I recalled a scripture from the New Testament, from Romans 5:3, when the Apostle Paul taught “We glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”

I find that statement both fascinating and enlightening.

Tribulations 𝒅𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒅 patience, but at the same time they also help us to 𝒅𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒍𝒐𝒑 patience.

These last 6 months have been filled with a variety of tribulations – “distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution. A trying experience.”

Sad to say, but the next few months will be exactly the same, if not more challenging in some ways. Yet, I believe as we patiently endure these difficulties with forbearance and fortitude, developing within each of us, if we allow it, will be the strength and resilience to face whatever comes.

The daily tests of endurance that each of us are currently facing require patience.

Our struggles will continue, one day, one step at a time. But these times for certain, will come to pass.

How can you be more patient today?

Annoying!

“There’s something not right with that tyre dad, I’ve had to blow it up again” said my son Kyle.

Both my son and daughter had mentioned this fact to me several times over the last few weeks. It was a little thing really, but it was starting to bug all of us.

So on Saturday I took their car into the garage and had them look at the back tyre. After a couple of minutes, he’d found a nail in the tyre and subsequently off he went to fix the puncture. Ten minutes later – the job was done and my wallet was £20 lighter.

The tyre had become a bit of an annoyance, due to the infrequent, unpredictability and intermittent nature of the flat tyre. Finally, it had been going on for quite a few weeks, plus Kyle had been into the garage before and they’d found nothing – even more annoying!

Annoyance – a cause of irritation or vexation; a nuisance.

What little things do you find annoying? What pushes your buttons?

Some top tips to deal with those little irritants!

– Slow down, breathe – is it worth getting upset about?
– Consider your perspective, the momentary issue will pass.
– Have fun, laugh at yourself, don’t take it too seriously.
– Ask yourself how important the matter really is.
– Ask yourself is their something I can do to make it better?

Learning in Lockdown

The first 50 days (and counting) in lockdown. Here is what I learned.

I have some good habits and routines already in place. I’m an early riser, I study, meditate, plan my day, set my goals and take regular exercise. Work has changed from mostly face to face, to all virtual. So, what have I been learning?

Waiting is hard – I still have much more to learn about patience!

These last 50 days I have learned that patience is far more than simply waiting for something to happen. Rather, patience requires that I actively work towards a worthwhile goal by focusing on those things I can control and choose not to get discouraged when results don’t appear as quickly as I’d hoped for.  It also requires that I have had to put on hold some of the biggest desires of my heart for a little while longer by making alternative plans. (Charity Skydive – on hold ☹)

Patience means actively waiting and enduring really well.

In these challenging times I have learned not to be dismayed or to give up too easily, when I know that I’m doing the best I can.  I am also beginning to understand that I should be satisfied with my progress even though it may come very, very slowly at times.

In what area of your life do you struggle to be patient?

What have you learned during lockdown?

Patience

So, your patience is wearing thin…..

Perhaps a certain amount of impatience may be useful to stimulate and motivate us to action – do you agree?

“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” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

However, too often, we are impatient with ourselves, with our family members, friends, work colleagues and other matters. We seem to demand what we want right now, regardless of whether we have earned it, whether it would be good for us, or whether it is right.

Recently, our house sale fell through. It has been a difficult time. Consequently the topic of patience has raised it’s head in our home. Patience isn’t merely waiting, in my mind it means active waiting, enduring, staying with something and doing all that you can, including working, hoping, and dealing with the challenges that arise one by one. It also means accepting that which cannot be changed.

As important as patience is, in my experience we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that our lives are designed to give us many opportunities to develop it.

How can you take the time to develop your patience by being patient?