You practice persistent patience by making a plan to find your calm. Much like being the eye of your own hurricane, persistent patience happens when you plan and practice the art of waiting. You have to be calm in allowing the pieces to fall into place – their place – instead of trying to force the pieces into your predetermined positions.
Forcing will break the puzzle, shatter your peace, and unravel your patience.
Be okay with waiting for the pieces to align.
Doctor Who fans will tell you that when there is a button, it must be pushed. Just the other day, I was watching a show about flipping houses and the main guy pushed a button clearly marked “for emergency” and it set off an ear-shattering alarm.
Buttons demand to be pushed, but sometimes the button is a trap – much like the emergency button in the show.
I’ve fallen for my fair share of button traps. I’m most susceptible when emotions rule instead of peace and purpose. The situation or circumstance seems so perfect that I push the button without reading the fine print or without getting things in writing. The truth of the imperfections is only revealed after the fact.
Then it is too late to back away. By then, the neighbors have called the police because the alarm has gone off. By then, I’m backed into doing something because I have to which wasn’t the thing I wanted to do and thought I would be doing when I signed on.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve had many button pressing opportunities. On several occasions, I’ve listened to that still small voice that’s held me back from pushing the button.
One of those times it was a real button and a real voice. We were taking a tour of a house when the owner led us into a sunroom banked with all-season windows. The owner demonstrated how the windows would lift up, or down. “Can I try?” My son asked.
“Just push the button,” I assured him.
The owner raised her voice a little. “NO! Don’t push the button. The button released the window from the frame. All you have to do is move the window up or down to open it.”
No button pushing necessary. All you needed was a little pressure to move the window in its tracks in the direction you wanted it to go.
I had tried to give my son directions on how to use the windows based on information I had from other situations instead of waiting for the directions.
“Just push the button” has been my mantra for most of my life. Push the button and let the chips fall where they may.
Sometimes, though, when I push the button instead of waiting to allow things to move in their direction (or waiting to HEAR the directions), I knock things out of their track instead of getting things done.
I have to practice persistent patience and be willing to wait and learn, instead of pushing the button to force my way.
Find A Place of Persistent Patience
Waiting can be a difficult challenge to master, but it will create space for incredible things. Practicing patience gives you the strength and determination to wait for the best instead of pushing a button that released the okay.
Not All Buttons Need to Be Pushed
Some buttons will cause unwanted noise. Some buttons will create unnecessary alarms. Some buttons will create more work. Some buttons will break what you were trying to fix (instead of the other way around). Instead of pushing the button right away, take a moment. Wait to learn more about the button before you go pushing it.
Waiting Does Not Equal Inaction
One of the hardest parts of the patience practice I’ve faced is not doing anything. It took me years to realize that waiting didn’t mean inaction. I could do plenty of things while I waited for the right information about a particular button. If you’re one of those that has to keep doing something once you’ve started doing something, waiting can be painful. It means you have to stop, but it doesn’t have to. Instead of stopping, try shifting your energy in a different direction for the moment – let’s call it a pivot – or perhaps you can idle in place for the time being. Writing can be an opportunity to build up the power you’ll use to push forward when it comes to button-pushing time.
Emotions Rarely Make Good Drivers
The stronger your emotions in the moment the more important the power of persistent patience. Take a breath. Take a walk. Take a day. Stop the car and get out for a little while (or let someone else drive). Until you feel peace taking the wheel, you need to take time.
Unsettled Challenges Persistent Peace
Two years ago, the world turned upside down for us – in more ways than one. Since then, things have been in a season of constant change, shifting sand, and uncontrollable unsettled. But, when it all began, my husband and I made the intentional decision to only act in peace. We weren’t going to act out of fear, or frustration, or anger.
It hasn’t been easy – but most of the time the things worth having are worth waiting for. As long as we back each other up, it’s a little bit easier (and this backup is another reason it’s so important to be invested in relationships. We aren’t designed to go it alone).
On more than one occasion, I’ve found something or someone that helped me feel settled. Peace would cover me in that moment. Not long would pass before something would change, the unsettled would be highlighted again, and frustration would start to build.
It took an intentional shift of focus to be okay even during those unsettled reoccurrences. The truth is, it’s all unsettled. The world is constantly throwing things at us. Life always shows up. Change is a constant. The way to stay in your calm moments is to practice persistent patience with yourself, with others, and with your circumstances.
How will you practice persistent patience today?