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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Patience » Patience


Lamonte - July 30, 2007

I am willing to admit, and my wife will attest to this, that of all my faults the greatest is my lack of patience.  I am impatient in traffic and in almost every other aspect of daily modern life.  I have become accustomed to immediate gratification of my every wish and when I don’t get it, I get frustrated.  I realize that my impatience hurts me more than anyone else and so it’s something I’m always trying to improve upon, but usually without much success. 

Over at Meridian Magazine there is a quote at the bottom of the front page: 

“We may think that we or some other mortal opens the necessary doors to our future, but this conclusion is an error: We ourselves do not open these doors; only the Lord does. We give him our obedience, our diligence, our cooperation, but he opens and closes the doors. We can only make right choices; he controls the consequences of our choices.”

– M. Catherine Thomas, “The Doer of Our Deeds and the Speaker of Our Words,” BYU Devotional, December 7, 1993

I think this quote has some relevance to my lack of patience. I am a believer in the fact that certain things – maybe everything – happens for a reason.  Maybe you were disappointed that you didn’t get a job you applied for but later found that the next opportunity was much better.  Maybe you missed your flight to LA but were glad you weren’t on the flight when you learned that it crashed over the Rocky Mountains.  OK, that one was over the top but you get the point.

Just yesterday I was wondering to myself if the things that frustrate me are all God’s way of trying to teach me.  I was tying my tie before church and in the process the tab on the back of the tie got caught on my belt buckle.  I thought to myself that in a million years I could not have done that even if I tried.  I began to feel my usual frustration coming on and then I stopped to wonder if God wasn’t just giving me a test.  A very small one at that but I was about to fail the test when I caught myself.

What do you think?  Does God constantly test us – even in the little issues?  Does He control every aspect of our lives – not by taking our free agency but by putting us in situations where we need to make a choice?  You can also comment on my severe lack of patience if you want.



  1. Note to readers: nobody comment on this post for three days.

    Comment by Rusty — July 30, 2007 @ 6:38 am

  2. I liked what they said in “Evan Almighty.” (Evidently so did one of the stake YW leaders who used the same quote at Girls’ Camp.) When you pray to God for patience, He doesn’t magically endow you with it. Instead he gives you opportunities to practice it.

    I don’t know that He controls EVERY aspect of our lives. There’s no reason to assume He couldn’t but a good parent knows when to give their children space, right? But I agree with the idea that He sometimes puts us in situations where we need to make a choice. Maybe even sometimes He doesn’t wait for us to pray for it, since He may know that something is coming that we need to be ready for.

    Comment by Proud Daughter of Eve — July 30, 2007 @ 6:39 am

  3. If true, that would explain why I always get stuck behind a little old lady driving 25 MPH when I am running late. Much more likely though, is the fact that I notice the little old lady because I am late. Part of the purpose of this world is to try our patience. I don’t think God made your tie get stuck, but he put you in a world where you have to worry about silly things, like ties.

    Comment by john scherer — July 30, 2007 @ 6:39 am

  4. Rusty – you’re sounding pretty frisky with your comments today – but I like them.

    Proud Daughter of Eve – Your quote reminds me of another familiar one “God grant me patience – RIGHT NOW!”

    John Scherer – wise counsel indeed!

    Comment by Lamonte — July 30, 2007 @ 6:55 am

  5. I can’t remember where I read this, though I’m sure it was a Buddhist who said it, but basically, he said “Red lights were merely a reminder to meditate.” The idea that instead of getting frustrated with the traffic take that brief moment to stop and just be, or from a mormon perspective, stop and give thanks.

    Comment by marcus — July 30, 2007 @ 8:02 am

  6. :) Sounds like that speaker has been to an AA meeting or two.

    I think I’m your evil twin. I have a problem with delayed gratification, also. What happens is I will try to force a solution just because I want the suspense over and often it isn’t a good solution.

    There’s another AA saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    Not to make this into an AA thread, but if you’ve been to any 12 step meetings, General Conference is much more meaningful. GA’s talk program.

    Comment by annegb — July 30, 2007 @ 8:09 am

  7. annegb – several years ago I took one of those Meyers-Briggs personality tests and one thing I remember distinctly about my personality was that in many or most group situations (like “where should we go for dinner”) I really don’t care what the decision is (because I’m pretty flexible when it comes to food) but I want the decision to be made NOW! I think that’s what you’re describing as well. It’s really a curse to live that way.

    Comment by Lamonte — July 30, 2007 @ 8:16 am

  8. I actually think God is almost 100% hands off when it comes to the details of what happens in our lives. I see diseases, deaths, accidents, pain, etc., as randomly-distributed consequences of living in this fallen world through which we are called to pass, not as directly caused, tailored, and targeted by God. This has been an ongoing conversation between my wife and I throughout our marriage. She always tended more toward the hand-of-God-in-all-things view, which seems to more common among Mormons and, I admit, also among Church leadership. But God and this life just make much more sense to me with randomness as a major part of the paradigm.

    Comment by Tom — July 30, 2007 @ 8:20 am

  9. More patience in suffering…
    More faith in my Savior…
    More gratitude give me…
    More trust in the Lord…
    More meekness in trial…
    More strength to o’ercome…
    More fit for the kingdom…
    More, Savior, like Thee.

    If we have little patience for ourselves, how does that translate into patience towards others – especially when we don’t agree with the course they are pursuing? Another layer of the test of mortality, IMO.

    Comment by Mondo Cool — July 30, 2007 @ 8:21 am

  10. Tom,

    I agree that God does not create the chaos in the world but I also think he allows us to experience it rather than protecting us all the time. On the other hand, I think there are some choices we make that will protect us from harm and he has blessed us with the wisdom to make those correct choices.

    I know its a pagan saying but I really do believe that “whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” or however that saying goes. Yet I think of the image of a young mother from the ghetto in Chicago crying over the casket of her 8 year-old son who was killed in the cross fire of a drug war. How can what she has experienced make her stronger? And then I realize that is another reason for our existence here on earth, to love and support those who have lost so much. When we are able- if we are in the right location or circumstance – we can reach out to those who have been hurt with our faith and our love and concern and they will be strengthened by that experience. And so I guess I believe that God puts many things in our paths that cause us to make a choice and the choices we make will determine our happiness here on this earth and in the life to come. My impatient behavior is an indication that I’m not always making the right choices.

    Comment by Lamonte — July 30, 2007 @ 8:56 am

  11. I have no idea WHY anyone would ever pray for patience. That’s like praying for humility. Whenever I’ve done either of those God answers with “You want patience, eh? GREAT! Here you go!” and I have some of the most challanging times of my life.

    Anyway, isn’t there a scripture or to about the rain falling on the wicked as well as the righteous? One of the biggest challenges the Lord has given me is trying to figure out which time is His leading me along and the times it’s just life happening.

    Comment by Bret — July 30, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  12. I try to look at adversity as an opportunity to exercise faith. And often, if I do exercise faith, adversity can turn into a blessing.

    Comment by Susan M — July 30, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  13. Bret-
    I had a seminary teacher tell us a story of when, as a teenager, he truly wanted to know what the Savior felt while he was suffering on the cross. He prayed for a chance to know what it felt like (stupid request). The next day, he stepped on a nail that went almost straight through his foot. The moral of the story was to be careful what we pray for and to never be arrogant enough to assume we will ever know what the Savior endured. Talk about a lasting lesson!

    You could be the other extreme and be indicisive and lazy. Personally, I’d rather be impatient, because it’s easier to learn to slow down a little bit, whereas motivation is harder to develop (imho).

    Comment by Cheryl — July 31, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  14. Cheryl,

    I think I heard the same story in seminary, too. Yikes! I don;t kniow why you would pray FOR a trial. I pray that I can learn the lesson the Lord wants me to learn without having to go through a trial. Like it says in Alma 32 about humbling yourself is better than being compelled to be humble.

    Comment by Bret — July 31, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  15. Bret-
    Oh, dear. Well, if you heard the same story, then my seminary teacher was just using another myth. I could have sworn he said it was himself, though!

    You know, it could be said that praying to overcome our weaknesses is like praying for a trial. Seriously, it always ends up being about the same. Because what makes us overcome weaknesses? Yeah –trials. :) But I agree that it would be better if we could just be what we’re supposed to be minus the trials. It never seems to be that easy, though.

    Comment by Cheryl — July 31, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

  16. True true. I’m usually not a strong enough person to humble myself and am then compelled to be humble. I do think the trials are not as hard when I pray for overcome-ness rather than pray to be humbled.

    I guess if nothing else I feel better wording it that way>:)

    Comment by Bret — August 1, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  17. Yup, Lamonte. That gets me in no end of trouble.

    I think the AA saying is “do the best you can and give the results to God.”

    We had a lesson on patience in RS, actually, I think I was the teacher. What stuck in my mind was a quote by Neal A. Maxwell about patience being a kind of faith. Faith that things will work out.

    Comment by annegb — August 1, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

  18. Cheryl – sorry for the late response. I’ve been out of town a couple of days. Thanks for your encouraging (or consoling) thought. I guess things could be worse.

    annegb – I like anything Elder Maxwell says. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by lamonte — August 1, 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  19. lamonte – have you considered that God thought your tie was too ugly to wear? :)

    Anyway, I consider myself a very patient person, except when I’m driving, waiting in line, waiting for food, responding to someone contradicting me, or pretty much doing anything.

    Actually, I patiently get up in the morning! (i.e. I don’t do it immediately; I patiently wait for the right moment!)

    Comment by Jacob — August 2, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  20. Jacob – you may have something there. I often borrow ties from my son because he has some amazing ones. I got a new suit last week and thought that one of his ties would look good with it. But when I got home from church and checked it out in the mirror, it didn’t look bad, but it certainly didn’t look fantastic like I envisioned. So that’s what He was trying to tell me!

    Comment by lamonte — August 2, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

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