"Love is... patient..." (1 Corinthians 13). Oh patience. None of us really like this word because we know that to grow in this area requires us to be stretched more than we'd like! How many times I've been warned not to pray for patience because "God will take you up on this request and teach it to you"!! As I have been looking at my own heart to see if there is any patience in me, I have realized one thing.
A lack of patience is rooted in our expectations of people.
My oldest son gets so frustrated and impatient with his little sister when they play a game together. He expects her to play like a 5 year old. But she can't ever meet that expectation because she is three. This morning I heard her say (as he impatiently placed an expectation on her to rise above her three year old self), "I can't do that Andrew, I'm only three."
As wives, we get frustrated with our husbands because they don't do what we expect them to do. Fill in the blank here: It drives me crazy when my husband does/doesn't do _______! Why does it drive us crazy? Because we expect something different than what they are doing.
Think about the last time you were impatient with someone you love. What expectations or personal agenda did you bring to the table? When we strip away all our expectations and agendas, what is left is the freedom to love someone without getting frustrated. It is freedom to us and to the person we are loving!
I love how God inspired Paul to write patience as the first descriptive word for love. God knows that this is such a big hurdle for us. And the way over it requires that we remove our expectations. Once those are gone, we have a clear path to express patient love.
So the next time you find yourself getting impatient with someone, do a heart check. Ask yourself, "What am I expecting from this person right now?" Then push that expectation away and love that person with patient love!