I like to get things done. Once everything is done, then I can rest, right? Not so much. Everything is never done. There’s always something more. And it’s easy to grow impatient as I try to find peaceful moments for myself.
My impatience reveals a self-focused attitude as I rush about my day.
Taking on too many responsibilities and not having time to rest each day can certainly contribute to impatience.
When life gets overwhelming and my focus turns inward, I find it difficult to notice those around me. I got a pedicure the other day. As my feet were getting massaged the manicurist said, “I see you at the gym, but you don’t see me. That’s ok, you were focused on your workout.”
I have never been a very observant person. It’s really hard for me to remember faces, especially if I see someone in a different environment. Even when I try hard to remember names and faces, I struggle. I honestly think there is a connection lost in my brain when it comes to remembering details about what people look like. This has always been a concern for me. I recently discovered there is a name for it, facial blindness. Although I haven’t been officially diagnosed I meet the diagnostic criteria for it. It’s really quite sad because I really do care about people and I feel sad when I don’t remember them.
Contributing to the problem is that when my mind is so focused on other things–like my to-do list, I don’t pay attention to my surroundings.
Why am I so focused on getting things done?
To be honest, when I peel back the layers and take an uncomfortable look at myself I see a woman who is striving to be good enough. Striving to keep up with my own lofty expectations of myself. Making myself extra busy and stressed because I’m afraid of producing an undesirable outcome as I measure myself against the demands of what I feel I should live up to.
There must be a way to let some things go and rest without feeling anxious inside!
During my son’s birthday party, I had a conversation with some family members who started their Christmas decorating. I immediately felt anxious that I needed to get Christmas up too. I went to the Michaels and Walmart and didn’t see a Thanksgiving decoration in sight! So I put pressure on myself to “get it done” and keep up with everyone else. The only difference is, I have a very busy life with four kids. And so what did I do? I took down all the Thanksgiving decorations I had agonized previously about putting out. Gone! Already put back into the shed and decorated for Christmas on November 11th…before Thanksgiving ever arrived.
I’m beginning to see in myself that my perfectionistic tendencies feed my impatience.
This get it done angst of mine causes me to lose joy in the present moment.
I would like to be relaxed while wrapping gifts for all six of us and my extended family while the Christmas tree lights are on, and the music is playing in the background. But really I’d rather be snuggled up in a blanket with a hot cup of cocoa, staring into the fire. So I rush through it, and for what? 10 more minutes to fold a load of laundry probably.
And untangling the Christmas tree lights? That’s just like untangling a necklace. Argh! I could go on and on.
God wants to use these moments to help work out patience in me.
James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
So how do I allow patience to have its perfect work in me?
BE STILL BEFORE THE LORD
It’s time to rest. And guess what?
I can rest while I am completing a task!
I don’t have to finish everything in order to rest. If I do that I will never enjoy the moment because there will always be something that I need to do. I’m going to slow down. Being still means letting go of anxiety. Taking my time. Enjoying the process. Noticing people around me. Smiling!
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
SEEKING GOD HELPS US TO BE PATIENT
A person’s wisdom yields patience.
Wisdom yields patience. Seeking God will give us wisdom and in turn, we will learn to be patient. We can seek the Lord through prayer, Bible Study, worship and being still before Him. Perhaps you have been taking on too many responsibilities. Wisdom helps us know when to say no, be able to let go of perfection, slow down, and enjoy the journey.
REMEMBER: GOD PROVIDES THE STRENGTH TO BE PATIENT
…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.
[Tweet “You can be still on the inside even when life is moving fast on the outside.”]
I have felt so much peace as I have learned to enjoy the busy moments in life. I’m learning to be still on the inside even with life is moving fast on the outside. This has helped me to be patient.
What about you? How can you work on being still inside and patient during this busy holiday season?
Forgive me for my selfish ambition that seeks to get everything done so that I can feel good about myself. Forgive me for my pride. Lord I want to slow down and feel peace in the moment. I want to notice the people around me. To smile and say hi. I should be worshipping instead of rushing. Praising instead of fretting. Giving instead of worrying. Lord, give me wisdom so I can let go of perfectionism, slow down and enjoy the journey.
Check out the other posts in the Christmas series.
If you liked this post, you may also like: The List You’re too Busy not to Make, Busy and Stressed, Finding Joy in the Holidays, Great Gift Ideas
What a great reminder! I too am often kind of stuck in moments where my patience is really tested. I think God is always teaching me something in those moments. Thanks for linking up with The Alder Collective!
What a great site, and I love the name–Our family will soon be at six also 🙂
Thank you for the great reminder that it’s OK–and even a good thing–to slow down and take a break. I don’t think I’ve ever moved this fast in my life. Between our baby on the way, changes at work, and family visiting from out of state, we are moving fast.
I love your suggestion that we can be still within, while moving quickly without. It’s something that I will be trying to put into practice in the weeks ahead 🙂
Congrats on your soon to be family of 6! I visited your blog today and downloaded your book (which I already started to read)! I love that you provide practical ways to work through problems. I can’t wait to read more of your posts!
Hi Valerie! Thanks for being so transparent about your struggle with impatience. It’s a common cause of frustration. But you do a great job of giving us the scriptural insight and encouragement we need. I’m visiting you today via #RaRaLinkup!
Thank you Joy! I appreciate your kind words!
“Impatience is the symptom of eyes turned inward.” So guilty…I have never thought of it as such a selfish trait. So thanks for opening my eyes to that. Something for me to work on!
I’m a work in progress! So glad that God is patient with us!
I was just having such similar thoughts this morning! I was holding my youngest and thinking how much joy and peace I have in this stage. Sadly I look back at my oldest younger years and I was so focused on doing way too much and having more kids! I do get focused way to much on what I need to do- get married- have a child- have more kids- etc. thanks for this encouragement!!!
Writing this post caused me to really see my level of discontentment when things aren’t done. This realization has caused me to really check myself a lot and discipline myself to be still in those crazy busy moments. I’m so glad you related and that we are both seeking to have peaceful hearts! Hugs!
Lovely article. I started following your blog when Melanie posted her 100 top bloggers list. You remind me of myself because I have six kids. So every time I hear “cord of 6” I think about my family. :o)
One thing in your article that really resonated with me was when you said: I’m learning to be still on the inside even with life is moving fast on the outside. That has got to sum up my life! Especially living on a freeway in the city where things are loud and moving fast.
Thank you so much for blessing me today!
Welcome Home Ministry
In the middle of my busy day, I read this and smiled. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a word of encouragement. I have visited your blog before and I love how you have made your house a home (BTW your blog looks inviting and I love the colors and fonts!) I pray you have a peaceful day on the inside…even when life is crazy lol!
Oh, Girl, you have been spying on me!
I can so be the Queen of Impatient!
Love the message of this post and the reminder to find deep peace with Jesus deep inside even as the world as in Christmas chaos on the outside!
Wish you lived closer so we could meet for coffee!
What a relief to find someone, whom I admire and respect, a fellow struggler with patience! Sometimes it’s just good to know you don’t struggle alone.
My friend…I do wish I could meet you in person and give you a hug. You are such an encouragement to so many!