Where did January go? With February here, many of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions by now. Ever wonder why? How could something that we were so passionately driven to achieve last month change into something we care so little about this month?
In a previous blog about managing expectations, I wrote about the first principle of mindfulness, called “Beginner’s Mind,” in which we attempt to see things as they are, in the here and now, as if for the first time, with an unbiased, unprejudiced look. The second principle of mindfulness, patience, is sometimes what we lack in working toward a long-term goal or resolution. We expect to see results faster, and when we don’t exercise patience, we become frustrated and discouraged and give up.
When patience is exercised on a daily basis, we become more anchored in the here and now. We bring ourselves back from wishing the future was already here, or that something was different from how it is now. Patience is letting go of wanting the future to be now, and allowing “now” to be now. Does this mean that we become complacent or lazy and don’t work hard on achieving our goals? Not at all. But it does mean that the more we exercise patience, with ourselves, with others, and with our circumstances, the more content we will be and less anxiety we will experience.
As the hymn writer says:
“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
Here is a prayer for patience: “Dear heavenly Father, help me to be patient as you are patient. Grant me endurance to patiently wait for change to come. Help me to remain in the here and now and to focus on what you have for me to do today and not to be anxious for tomorrow. For yours is the glory, honor, and praise, both now and forevermore. Amen.”
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).