On Saturday night, as I watched the Sooners play football, I found myself screaming at the television. On their first two possessions Missouri absolutely schooled the OU secondary on how NOT to run a defense. The result? A quick 14 to 3 lead in the first 9 minutes of the game and an odd sense of deja vu that Missouri would once again topple the Sooners out of their #1 position in the polls.
Looking back it’s strange that I would get so frustrated over the Sooner’s early game performance. I’m not on the team. I’ve never played one down of real football. I’m not even Sooner alumni. I’m just a guy who grew up near Norman and married a girl who bleeds crimson and cream. Yet, in spite of my distant relationship and laughable qualifications for speaking with intelligence on the subject of what it takes to run a defense – let alone win a game – there I was, screaming at my TV and the secondary that virtually placed a red carpet on the field – twice – to escort the Mizzou offense into the end zone. I’m reminded that this is how many of us approach the topic of patience.
Patience is an admirable quality…in someone else. It’s one of those virtues we admire from a distance. We expect immediate satisfaction from others while asking them to have patience with us. The problem is simple. I want what I want when I want it and I want what I want right now!
Impatience is an epidemic in our culture today. We’re not really interested in waiting on much. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty impatient with how long it’s taken to write this post. I can only imagine how impatient you must be to finish it! So, in the spirit of brevity – and in the hope I won’t wear your patience thin – let’s see if we can find some practical wisdom in bullet point form!
- Patience is being willing to let the process unfold. It’s waiting to judge the quality of the OU defense till the end of the game rather than forming your opinion in the first two plays of the game.
- Patience provides the margin that helps you adjust to the unavoidable. It’s guaranteed. People will get sick. They will make mistakes. They will need rest. Some will deliberately disappoint. Patience makes it possible to find success in spite of unavoidable circumstances.
- Patience is deeper than tolerance. Patience is not letting people get by with bad behavior. Patience instructs then gives the instruction time to sink in. Patience confronts the problem then allows maturity to do it’s work.
- Patience creates space; space to learn, space to understand, space to change your mind, space to rest, space to grow.
- And now for my favorite truth – Patience is the calm assurance that comes from trusting that God is not finished with us yet.