The Impatience / Patience Top Ten

Jeff Rasche

Remember that God has been patient and merciful with you; ask God to help you be patient with the glaring faults of others.

Pretty Good Reasons to Be Impatient

  1. The restaurant promises fast food, but first you have to stand in line to order. If there are two lines—a family with ten children in one and a single older man in another—you will choose to stand behind the older man. He orders french fries without salt. The cook dismantles the fryer, empties out the oil, refils the fryer, then goes next door to buy salt-free fries. Meanwhile, the family of twelve has ordered and eaten and gone home.
  2. Parents. Little brothers and sisters.
  3. angry ape Ftr TSP 153484620You’re running late for an appointment on the sixth floor. Just as you step into the elevator, someone shouts, “Hold the elevator!” Four people slowly shuffle down the hall, and onto the elevator, then push buttons 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  4. Your parents make you walk the dog. It’s a cold rainy night, and you’re tired. Why does the dog feel obligated to sniff at every mail box on the whole street without ever getting down to business?
  5. Your little brother burps while crunching his cornflakes with his mouth open. He does this every morning, even after you have asked him politely not to act like an ape.

What to Do When You Feel Impatient

  1. Take a deep breath. Hold your breath until your face is deep red and your eyes bug out. Suddenly, let it all out in an explosive primal scream.
  2. Try more subtle ways of expressing your impatience. Tap your fingernails on a hard surface; narrow your eyes; make barely audible snorts—similar to those of a mad bull.
  3. Try sarcasm. Say you pick up a friend to go to the movies. When you arrive, he starts getting ready. He stuffs the last bite of dinner before he searches his room for a matching pair of shoes. You wait while he laces up his boots. Use carefully concealed sarcasm: “Before we go to the movies, maybe we should stop and buy glow-in-the-dark shoelaces. If we miss the movie completely, at least we’ll have some really cool shoelaces.”
  4. devozine Choose Forgiveness TS 83719877A more loving way to deal with impatience is to address the problem in a civilized, one-to-one conversation. Telling the other person how you feel may encourage him or her to change. Love is not as flashy as the primal scream, but it is probably a better way to deal with impatience.
  5. You could also try the spiritual antidote to impatience, which is patience. To practice patience, talk to yourself a little. Remind yourself that other people have cut you some slack; this is your chance to return the favor. If talking to yourself has no effect, try talking to God. Remember that God has been patient and merciful with you; ask God to help you be patient with the glaring faults of others.



Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Love is patient. To be patient means to remember that, with God’s help, we continue to change and grow. (It’s possible that someday even your little brother will learn to chew with his mouth closed!)

Patience is a way of showing love and trusting God to continue working in all of us.


Jeff Rasche practices patience in his work as a pastor and writer.

—from devozine (July/August 2001). Copyright © 2001 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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