This principle of the month is especially difficult for me. I have been working on this for what feels like forever. And I will most likely be working on it forever more.
“The end of a matter is better than it’s beginning…Patience brings peace”
When I think of patience, what comes to mind is an old man with grey hair, slacks, a button-up shirt with suspenders, walking slowly down a street with a cane. He is being passed by every other person walking about, yet he saunters on with a smile on his face, as if he is observing life in a way we cannot, until we become just like him.
Our world moves so fast, it can be hard to keep up. How can we possibly have time for patience? It can feel as though only those who have lived their lives and accomplished all they wanted can finally be patient and at peace.
But so many studies consistently show that moving as quickly as we try to do is not good for our overall health. It causes stress and prevents our bodies from getting the amount of rest we need (which prevents us from restoring our minds, leading to forgetfulness as we get older). Stress even causes our immune systems to break down, leading to illness.
So why do we acknowledge the facts but still struggle with patience on a daily basis? Let’s take a look at the first part of this principle. We often agree with this, and then frantically try to get to the end of something because it is better than the beginning of it. But that is not what this really means.
The end of a matter is only better than its beginning if we are patient through the journey. Patience through the journey is what brings peace. Keep in mind, however, that patience doesn’t mean slow. Patience means allowing things to happen at the speed in which they should.
Let’s work through an example for a moment. Many of us often get impatient in conversation, especially when the other party does not understand what we are trying to communicate. When we find ourselves trying to communicate something we are excited about, and in our excitement rush through it, it leaves the hearer lacking in understanding, which can lead to conflict. That’s not peace.
But when we patiently communicate, we are able to take someone on a journey with us, walking side by side, leading us to a greater understanding at the end and peace in the relationship.
Here’s another, more personal example. I tend to be in a “hurry” when I am driving in Atlanta traffic. My focus is on getting to where I’m going as quickly as I can. When I drive with this perspective, I am generally stressed the entire time because I am never able to go as fast as I would like. But when I shift my perspective to be in line with this principle, and drive with patience, I actually enjoy the trip and don’t feel any stress at all. So, when I arrive at my destination, instead of having to unwind because of all the stress, I am ready to go enjoy myself. There is peace at the end of the journey. And sometimes, I even see cool things along the way (the other night, I saw 6 deer along the side of the road)!
Try this next time you are getting impatient. Remember that the end of the journey, while better than the beginning, is only better when you arrive at peace. Whether in conflict or trying to do a task, working through it patiently (again, that doesn’t mean slowly) produces a far greater result.