More than a Game - July 13, 2021

racquet-ball2I would like to move to another virtue that helps athletes perform at their best, patience. Patience is the endurance or constancy to accept trials with a calm and unruffled temper. Basically, it gives us staying power to hang in there and not give up. It helps us see we don’t have to have success immediately. We are willing to wait for the thing hoped for and not demand it right away.

Motivational speaker Andy Andrews talks about life lessons learned from great people in history in his best-selling book The Travelers Gift. In one chapter he talks about how people give up too quickly and because of this forego many great achievements. He talks about all the great things that could have been invented but weren’t because of a lack of patience. He has this to say about giving up too soon, “Circumstances are rulers of the weak…but they are weapons of the wise …Are your emotions controlled by circumstances…Circumstances do not push or pull. They are daily lessons to be studied and gleaned for new knowledge and wisdom.”[1]

The point is people quit because the situation discourages them, or they don’t feel like putting in the extra effort. They lack resolve to keep fighting. Once you give up, you are finished and will never succeed. To keep fighting, no matter what others say or how tough the situation, requires patience. This is true in all aspects of life, from dealing with a child to solving a math problem. To grow in patience is to grow in your ability to keep at it and ultimately your ability to conquer.

Patient people are not swayed by the ups and downs of daily life. Impatient people are impulsive and irritable. They act on emotion spontaneously. Patience has to do with long suffering. It is a calm willingness to accept situations that are irritating or painful. Patience suggests the following characteristics:

• That we become stronger in trial and grow because of trials.
• We don’t expect everything to always be great or go our way.
• We learn in difficulties and can gain critical knowledge from them.
• Your ability to endure tough times produces perseverance.
• To become patient is to mature.

When we act on impulses or emotions we do things randomly, and this often produces harmful or wrongful actions. Patience is controlling these emotions. Patience is slowness to anger. Patience is acting in deliberate and self-controlled ways. When we don’t act on emotions, we exhibit patience and act consistently. When emotions rule, inconsistency reigns.

We must consider the great advantages patience can give to us in life. Think of the ability to be calm and peaceful in a traffic jam because you are patient. Imagine working on a project for a long time and being no closer to the solution but enjoying the process because of patience. The disadvantages of impatience are irritability, anger, frustration, and discouragement.

Patience is determined in the mind as much as in the heart. It is deciding ahead of time you won’t give in to emotions. Deciding in advance that you will respond with fortitude and tolerance. To be patient is to be persistent and this produces a steadfastness and constancy in us.

When we develop patience in our life we have resilience, and from this we become conquerors. The conquering power of patience turns trials into success. No matter what people or situations throw at you, patience overcomes all.

Patience and long suffering are a very powerful team. Patience often deals with people while long suffering has to do with situations. Long suffering is fortitude that no situation can beat, while patience is staying power that people can’t beat. No circumstance can defeat your strength and no human can defeat your love. Patience and long-suffering combine to form endurance that never gives up and results in an indestructible character that maintains control, whatever life throws at us.