As many of you will know, this resource is designed to strengthen the good habits of the Christian life. For each month, it briefly summarises a couple of the classic spiritual disciplines, setting these alongside key Bible passages and some simple exercises to try. Here, you’ll find republished the introduction and praxis exercises on patience.
As you read on, there are a couple of things to remember. The first is that we wrote The Hare and the Tortoise back in 2011. Over the past decade, our cultural impatience seems only to have amplified even more. And then, while some of our examples of ways to learn patience are timeless (like eating and scripture memorisation), suggesting that you “choose the longest supermarket checkout line” might seem almost quaint these days. But, we trust you can get the point and translate as present conditions require. However much impatience becomes woven into the social fabric (embedded, for instance, as a design principle in the supermarket checkout!), occasions to learn and practice patience abound. The second thing to remember is this: even if we did catalogue the latest ways human beings have perfected the impatient life, these may not be the particular things that the Lord wants to bring to your attention as you seek to grow from impatience to patience. So, be prayerful and open as you read on. Read slowly: let your mind and heart reflect on the shape and the pace of your own life. Ask God to highlight the specific irritations and distractions for you in this area. And pray for help as you consider how you might address these and lean in to the grace of patient waiting—Sam.