The Fruit of the Spirit: A Week of Questions #5

It’s time to serve up our final question in this week’s series in which we’re tackling at least one question a day from our current series, “Living Proof,” our series on the fruit of the Spirit. So here we go. Ready?

“What are some good actions to take when we realize we are in the middle of being impatient?”

Because moments of impatience are usually accompanied by an escalation in our anger (that’s often how we sense we’re growing impatient, right?), allow me to suggest three actions that can help. There are no doubt more, but I think these three are a good start:

  1. Say less. Our anger typically gets its first expression through our words. So when you sense less patience, commit to less words as well. It may not solve what’s going on internally fully or immediately, but it will prevent you from having to solve more issues externally later.
  2. Pray more. Specifically, do this by asking the following kinds of questions in the form of a prayer, crying out to God for his insight into your sin-prone heart at these precise intersections. When frustration is mounting, seek to look in the mirror first, prayerfully asking yourself things like, “What specifically am I frustrated with right now?” “Was this intentional or accidental?” “Why is this bothering me so deeply and so quickly?” “Is there a better response in this moment than what I’m first feeling drawn to?” “What could I do to deescalate my own anger.” This will partially get your mind off the person or situation in front of you, afford you some needed time, and ultimately reveal the core reason you’re seeing an increase in your anger and a decrease in your patience.
  3. Look for an exit. That’s right, if possible, remove yourself from the scene. This can be hard, and sometimes not even possible. But as you analyze the moment, if simply leaving the situation is an option, it could be wise to take it. There’s a good way and a bad way to do this, so go into this with caution. I don’t suggest operating out of fear, but by the same token, a wise part of valor is discretion. Timing can make a big difference in just about everything, so if you can exit with integrity and remove yourself from the tempting circumstances or conversation, take advantage of the opportunity and spare yourself the presence of continued enticement.

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