I heard in a Sunday School lesson once to never pray for patience. “Please, Lord, I have no patience. Please help me have greater patience…” Most of us that do pray see to always pray for patience on a regular basis.
I Have No Patience, Why?
It’s something that we desperately need in order to live effective lives. In order to be able to:
- learn and grow with our families
- truly appreciate our blessings and gifts
- give birth, for crying out loud
- let alone raise children
So, naturally, my ears perked up when I heard this being taught. The sister speaking said to “Pray for strength instead.”
I let this concept sink in for a moment. She was absolutely right.
When you pray for patience, you’re without a doubt going to have trials and experiences every single day that test your patience. But when you pray for strength, you’re going to be buoyed up with a greater mental resolve than just praying for patience will.
Patience vs. Strength
When you think of patience, what comes to mind? I think more of:
- becoming irritable
- enduring an annoying hardship
- or becoming anxious for something to pass
When you think of strength, what comes to mind? I think of:
- ways to become resilient
- mental and emotional capacities to get through any situation
- a habitual gift that grows and grows when used over time
So I regularly pray for increased strength.
Where Hope Comes In
I carry with me a hope stone to help me with that strength when I am wavering. I do still catch myself almost slipping out the word ‘patient’ from time to time as I pray. But then I gather my thoughts and expound upon ways that I want to be stronger.
Then I read a scripture the other day that caught my eye.
Romans 8: 25 – But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
This passage taught me a connection I hadn’t truly seen before.
What we hope for—our ultimate goals, things we cannot see because they have yet come to light—often are the things we try to be stronger for. We are lacking patience that those things don’t come quick enough so we do those things to help become stronger in ways that will bring the result quicker.
We don’t want to have more patience. We want to be stronger.
But this scripture tells us that in order for us to finally reach that which we hope for, we HAVE to have patience. We HAVE to wait for it.
Now, I’m not discrediting strength altogether at all. I believe that you CANNOT even wait patiently for a hope WITHOUT strength. It’s an integral relationship between the three ideas.
If you want to have hope, or strength, or patience, you have to increase the other two in order for your situation to become optimal. Like this triangle, you cannot take away one corner of this shape and expect just two ideas to hold up effectively.
Or even if you focus closely on two angles, keep them closer together and placing the third farther away, your system is weaker still.
A Real Life Example
So let’s apply this idea with how to give natural birth. You’re ultimate hope is for a natural birth. You prepare and work as much as you can on strengthening yourself physically, going through the motions, feeding your intellect with facts and physiology.
But more often than not, mothers get into the thick of their labors and lack the patience necessary to reach that hope. Or maybe their strength isn’t as strong as they thought, so their patience isn’t bolstered, and that hope starts to slip away.
It can be a sad downward spiral that quickly dissolves your resolve. So how can you ensure that your patience, strength and hope are all equally supported so that one doesn’t fail the other two?
Center On Hope
It doesn’t matter if it’s something that’s long term and far beyond the present moment, or if it’s a current struggle that shouldn’t last long, but it truly feels like it will never go away.
Or it may be some state of life or a moment in your personal development that you’re eager to reach.
- Whatever it is, center upon that hope.
- Picture it in your mind and what it will feel like when you experience it or finally reach it.
I’m such an analytical realist that I discredit often what may be a rightful hope. It’s become difficult for me to easily picture what my ultimate hopes are. I mean, I have an idea, but I want to be more focused. So I’ve decided to read Finding Hope in order to be clearer in my own life what I need to be centered on.
Adjust Your Strength
Next, see beyond the current crisis you’re in the thick of now. You may not necessarily reach your full-on hope in your minds eye. But what will things be like when your current struggle is surpassed?
I heard another excellent metaphor recently that I too have become to love. It goes:
Picture the load you carry as a boulder. Now put that boulder in the Grand Canyon of your life.
I love that!
Your hope could be climbing out of that canyon, or reaching the end of it, or coming to a desired point in it. Then your struggle is the load you carry along the journey. Your inner strength is how you bear that load.
Patience With Each Step
The last thing is taking each step at a time. Maybe you can’t see the point you’re trying to reach, especially beyond the load you carry. But you can certainly see your feet stepping metaphorically one in front of the other.
This is patience.
When we keep the end in mind, the patience will naturally come. We are blessed with it.
Think of people that you know that are constantly impatient, never happy about where they are, and always eager to get to the next thing. They make their progress even more difficult, less fulfilling and not effective.
It’s because they don’t keep the end in mind. They’re anxious to just get this one thing off their plate so they can move onto the next ‘big’ issue.
Breathe In Patience
If your patience isn’t coming as quickly as you’d like, simply stop and deep breathe. Then picture this boulder you’re tackling in the grand canyon of your life, and your patience will come. It may not happen right away. It won’t be perfected overnight.
You won’t have these skills mastered instantly or continuously. Even at times when you’re strong, it may not last. You’ll have to pick up the pieces of rubble you need to carry and start over.
Reaffirm your position in your journey, look up and remember exactly where you are in the grand scheme of things, what you have with you, and how far you’ve come.
It happens. We get so focused on the here and now that everything beyond that scope dictates our choices and mood and abilities. But by
- remembering your triangle of hope, strength, and patience,
you can continue on and become stronger than ever before.
So just breathe. Breathing is a natural way to relax. I just had eye surgery yesterday and I certainly needed to remember to breathe in order to calm my nerves. It goes for every nervous, tough, or embarrassing thing in life.
Just breathe. It forces you to be patient in the moment. If you need something to breathe in to help you relax, like an essential oil, do it; it’s worth it.
I still don’t pray for patience. I pray for strength. But I understand now how both of them are necessary and work together with hope. I encourage you to use all three in preparing for birth and dealing with all your womanly woes. Of course, other options help tremendously together with your efforts.
Whatever aspect of your patience, hope, or strength needs help, find encouragement and support from the success of others. What do you need to balance more in your life?