When I was younger, my definition of the word patience was basically waiting without whining. Waiting in line for a ride at Disney world when I was seven, waiting until Christmas to open all of my awesome presents while they sat under the tree and taunted me, waiting while mom talked to someone in the grocery store and not asking her "Who is that?!" really loudly when they walked away. Waiting is probably the hardest thing to ask of any child under the age of 18.
But now that I'm older, patience has taken on an entirely new meaning. Patience is more than just waiting for pay day to come, waiting in the insanely long line at Starbucks when all I want is my caffeine RIGHT NOW, waiting while you're on hold with someone from customer service. Yes, all of these things require patience but where else in my life do I need it?
A little bit about me, like a large portion of society, I suffer from depression and anxiety. It really started to rear it's ugly head once I was in college. The way my body manifests depression is not what most people think of when they think of depression. It's not hard for me to get out of bed, I'm not necessarily mopey or melancholy, a la Eeyore. I'm irritable. There can be 500 triggers in the first 5 minutes after I wake up. I feel it throughout my body and I can't control it. My mother, knowing our family history, had me seek medical help and for the longest time I was on medication and it worked. However, once my husband and I decided to start our family, I didn't want to be on it for the health of our unborn child. So I went off it and did well until I began suffering from PPD which meant back to the medication.
Fast forward a couple years to last summer. I had really been diving back into God's word and feeling the pull to get rid of the meds. I should be relying on God for my strength rather than the medication. Now I'm not saying that's for everyone. This was my very personal feeling for my personal life. I don't see anything wrong or weak in taking medication for depression and anxiety or any other mental illness. Again, this was my personal decision I made with The Lord. So off the meds I went again.
This has not been an easy transition and I fail day in and day out. But what I try to focus on is just one moment at a time. When I feel the irritation rise in my body, I breathe. Well, I try to anyway. I try to remember to ask God to help me breathe through it. I'll be the first to admit that I will go days forgetting to do those simple things. the simple act of calling on Him in my weakness. I become filled with guilt that I yelled at my son again, or I didn't show enough forgiveness to one of my students who just doesn't get it. But I have to remember that I worship a forgiving God who knows my heart and wants me succeed. He sees these moments and calls to me to lean on Him.
So where else do I need patience?
I need patience when my son is throwing himself on the floor because he doesn't want to "get all the pee pees out" when he wakes up. I need it when the 20 minute timer has gone off for the millionth time and we have to drop everything and try to go potty...again. (side note: Potty training is nothing but patience.) I need patience when I'm teaching my younger students dance and they ask me a question that I just answered. I need it when I've demonstrated something we've worked on all year and they still don't know what do when it's their turn. I need patience when I've asked my husband to do something and it didn't get done on my timeline.
None of these things are the fault of those people. It's not any one's fault. But it becomes my fault, my stress, my irritation, when I don't remind myself to have patience. This is why I made "Patience" my one little word for this year. I have tried to make it my daily/hourly/minutely prayer to the Lord that he grant me patience. Our Savior makes each day, each moment, new. A million and one moments to try again. So breathe, ask the Lord to help you breathe, and wait for that new moment to try again.