Impatience and What’s Behind It – Post Office Ponderings
Gordon MacDonald has been a pastor and author for more than 40 years, chairs the World Relief board, and is an avid hiker. He writes mostly about issues of self-discipline, ordering one’s priorities, and developing a deep spiritual life.
“I think that’s kind of a joke,” he says, “because these are all things that didn’t come naturally to me. I’ve connected with readers because I’m not afraid to put my own life out there as an example of struggle, failure, and what I’ve learned from it.”
What He Said…Post Office Ponderings
I am standing in line at the post office and feeling this impatience. I used to think of myself as a patient man, but now I’m not so sure. I find a flicker of irritability rising in me at other times too: when everyone else decided to clog up the interstate at the same time I wanted to drive it, when someone sends me an e-mail file that takes ten minutes to download. I have a suspicion that these bits of impatience really echo other aspects—maybe more significant aspects—of my life that I refuse to face.
So I push myself to stop and think about my idiotic, immature reaction. Why am I upset because I’m going to lose four or more minutes in my schedule? What’s the deeper impatience? Where’s the anger coming from?
This moment in the line becomes a tutorial for my character. There will be moments ahead when this “fruit of the Spirit” will be needed for far greater issues than this one. Learn patience here so that you’ll have it then.
Adapted from A Resilient Life (Nelson, 2005)
Prayer for the Week: Thank You, Lord, for Your infinite patience. Grant me a composure of spirit that reflects Your character.