Patience: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like. Quietly and steadily persevering or diligent, especially in detail or exactness, was first recorded 1275-1325.  The gals in Bible study discussed how our society hinges on instant gratification of deliveries of meals and orders; patiently waiting is gradually going out of style.

Some regard patience as a difficult if not unattainable character trait by those who normally ‘sit on go’. However, when the word is changed to ‘pause a moment’, ‘count to ten’ or ‘take a breath’ it moves from an unlikely possibility to reality. Others see it as a weakness, but I regard patience as the pathway to healthy inner confidence, strengthening and power. Intentionally practicing patience feels awkward and uncomfortable at first but morphs into a worthwhile, beneficial and joyful lifelong journey.

Power: ability to do or act; great or marked ability in accomplishing something; strength; might; force; control or command over people; authority; influence; was first recorded 1300-50.

The idea of striving for or wielding power over unsuspecting or weaker people is revolting, objectionable, offensive, unladylike, and ungodly to name a few assumptions. We readily reject power when it means abject control with no questions or opinions permitted, but mentioning other qualities such as confidence, ability, perseverance, assurance and knowledge neutralizes the negative use to the healing and helpful benefit of power.

I was pleased and surprised to find Internet information on patience and power together and am including a few comments:

·         Patience is the ability to deal with delays, annoyances, rejections, apparent failures, and setbacks without losing your cool or getting all upset.

·         Fulton J. Sheen, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, said: “Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing’ it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

·         Exercising patience involves much more than the mere ability to hold back. Patience is a form of compassion, which, rather than alienating people, turns them into friends.

·         Patience implies power, power born out of understanding and affords us time to think, say, and do the right thing in the right way at the right time. Last but not least, patience enables us to achieve things that would otherwise have been impossible to achieve. Exercising patience does not mean giving up. Patience is much easier, perhaps even pleasant, to exercise if one truly understands that it can and does deliver much better outcomes, not just for ourselves but for others too. In other words, patience in many situations pivots on a matter of trust, or faith.

·         When driven and ambitious, the mere idea of having to wait for the things you are pursuing can feel tortuous.

Power and patience go together like pie/ice cream/Jack/Jill; hammer/nails. Power is born out of understanding circled by patience. Patience precedes power and doesn’t mean passivity or resignation, but assurance.  Interestingly, waiting and watching is emotionally freeing in knowing when to act.

Emphasizing the importance of encouraging others, even ourselves, in handling difficult situations with assuming the care of a loved one or being overwhelmed with having to clean out a house. Organizational suggestions are needed or merely mustering up courage to get started, which is what we siblings needed illustrated by the following story.

When it became obvious that Mom could no longer stay in her home, we acquiesced to her request to live with her six children meaning she would travel with suitcases in hand from state to state for 2 months at a time which also stipulated that we break up housekeeping and ready her house for sale.  As planned, we arrived with our spouses to undertake that huge project but we stood around and looked at each other not knowing how to begin.

Although Structured and Extroverted, we were powerless at this juncture.  A relatively new brother-in-law, who had been in management, observing our ‘stuckness’ surprised us all as he confidently took over the situation.  He came up with a plan and began delegating jobs and said, “All you guys need is a leader; someone who will make decisions. You know how to work together.”  We accomplished what we came to do. We were patient and followed our brother-in-law who humbly exhibited authority and confident power. We were extremely grateful for his contribution. We had a great time together.

“I would like just two weeks with nothing else on my calendar just to catch up”, a friend shared.  I’ve said the same thing to myself after traveling, being engaged in hired improvements in the house or yard, or having company for several days. Patiently, listing all the things/projects that we have rolling through our mind that qualifies as our personal responsibility is the pause that gives us wisdom and strength to tackle one thing at a time.  Committing ourselves to begin unleashes motivation and instills stamina.

Before you begin an overwhelming task, consider your temperament:  Structured people relish finishing. They’ll work at a job they dislike because the goal of finishing makes it worth the effort. Dividing the overwhelming project into smaller projects, assigning a day and time-frame diminishes the feeling of ‘impossible’ and produces the joy of finishing.  The Spontaneous segment works better when faced with a crisis and dead-line, because they prefer to begin when they get the urge--even if it’s 10pm. They’re likely to work all night. They work better under pressure and their delight is the enjoyment of the process. Avoid beating up on yourself for not finishing on time or not having the urge to begin. Install a personal rewards system to stimulate the fun of completion.

The connection between patience and power falls in line with that of being co-workers. Without patience, power is either weak or non-existent.  Rather than chomping at the bit to retort to someone’s accusation or opinion, merely being quiet for a minute or so, forces the speaker to wonder if you heard what he/she blurted out or if the hearer was unable or reluctant to respond.  ‘A pause’, as preachers and speakers learn, is often as effective as a sentence.

A person’s wisdom yields patience. Prov. 19:11. (NIV).

The one who is patient calms a quarrel. Prov. 15:18.

And we pray…that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him…being strengthened with all power…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…Col. 1:10-11. (NIV)

Father, thank you for being patient with us. Help us to be patient with others and ourselves.