rebelling against low expectations

I Am Impatient (And You Probably Are Too)


One day as I was listening to one of my favorite preachers, I was struck with a sudden surprise.

As part of the tech-savvy generation, rather than listening to his sermons week by week over the radio, I had simply streamed the sermon online. Then I could multi-task, the only interruptions being when I needed to walk over and press a button every half-hour. Normal, everyday, I-have-everything-at-the-touch-of-my-fingers life.

The third segment of the sermon finished, I strolled over, pressed the back button, and stared confusedly at the screen. Where was the final segment, waiting ready for my attention? I searched about the site for a minute, thinking “Maybe it is somewhere else,” before the strange reality sunk in.

It hasn’t been posted yet.

“What, I have to wait to listen to the rest?” I mentally griped. But I stopped myself, and realized that a little delay had revealed something interesting.

Our Lost Understanding of Patience

I usually consider myself a fairly patient person. After all, I don’t get (too) frazzled when I’m stuck in traffic. I’m not furious about having to wait thirty minutes for my food. I can survive the wait at the doctor’s office.

But, honestly, when was the last time I truly had to patiently wait for something?

I need information for a report? Google or Britannica online instantly gives me pages and pages. Do I want to hear from a friend who lives across the country? With a call, text, or email, I can hear from her in five minutes. Even when I am convinced that I have spent several days in the doctor’s waiting room, it is has truly been perhaps an hour.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with online resources or modern communications, but they are examples of how little I am accustomed to actually waiting.

If it only takes a stagnant loading-bar for me to lose my cool, what does that say about my patience?

But I greatly need to cultivate patience in my life. So often we hear that “Love is patient” (1 Cor. 13:4). Yet this seems so succinct and simple that I believe we often skip over why we need patience so desperately.

Patience is Foundational to the Christian Life

Miriam-Webster defines patience as “(the habit of) bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint, manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain.”

This trait is one of the most useful, if not necessary, aspects of the Christian life. For is not our journey often filled with the fierce battles of trial and pain? And in the midst of it all, we are told to “do all things without murmuring” (Phil. 2:14).

The very essence of patience is that which we are commanded to do as Christians. “Endure thou therefore hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3). We are constantly provoked and attacked by the Enemy, and only through patience can we forbear during such times.

For don’t all the best things in our lives require patience?

Relationships do not flower in a day; these tender plants only thrive when watered with forbearance and love. Having a holy mind is not the work of an hour, but rather an on-going labor which takes all our endurance.

It does not take only a minute to walk faithfully before our God.

We are to wait upon the Lord (Isa. 40:31). We are to be followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).

It is patience which helps us to reflect more and more the light of Christ to this irascible, instant-gratification world.

Patience is something that I often allow to wilt within me. And it is not easy to regrow it. Only through constant effort, daily dying to self, can I bring it back.

I need to bite my tongue before snapping at my siblings. I need to consciously smile at the lady at the front of the line slowing everyone down. I need to not bite my nails over when and whether the important letter will arrive.

Ultimately, I need to place all my annoyances and worries into the hands of the only One Who can do anything about it.

After all, the longest wait, the hardest trial, the most annoying situation, will be nothing but a tiny blip on the timeline of eternity, while the jewel of patience will ever shine in our crowns of honor.

So whether it is with trials, with the people around me, or simply with the wait until the next podcast of a sermon is broadcasted, I must “let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).

How do you encourage patience in your life?

“Therefore, seeing we also are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).

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Photo courtesy of Jessie Jacobson and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Isabelle Schweitzer

Isabelle Schweitzer (formerly Ingalls) has been a Rebelutionary since she was 15—learning how to trust God's faithfulness and do hard things as she wrote, walked through several international adoptions with her family, ministered at-risk kids, and mentored teens at camp. She now lives in South Carolina with her husband, where they continue to do hard things as they finish seminary, raise their new baby girl, and lead their church's youth group.


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  • Yes! I can yell at my siblings and then after be like, why did I do that? Why was I not more patient? Anyone have ways they encourage patience in there life? I have been working on it some! But if anyone has any good ideas… 😀

    • I struggle with the same problem! It seems that the best intentions I make in the mornings quickly get swept away by everyday life. I think sometimes I forget that my family is more deserving of the manners and patience that I reserve for the outside world. But, at least we get (many) more chances to practice patience with our siblings every single day, although for me it is still a constant battle. 🙂

      • Exactly! I have been working with kids this whole past year, and I know that my patience has been worked on, but when I get home my fuse seems so much shorter with my siblings! Lucky for me I have gracious siblings and a gracious God who are willing to help me! 🙂

    • Whenever you’re upset/annoyed/impatient, consciously set your mind on God. It can be hard at first, but it will certainly make you want to handle the situation well when you remember to do it! 🙂

      • Thanks for the advice Leah! I am starting to set my mind more on God, except it is after I lose my patience. Which is improvement over not thinking about it at all! But I suppose I have to be PATIENT 😉 and keep pushing on!

  • Ouch. I have recently been overlooking my impatience, pushing it aside, and not doing anything about it.

    “It’s not a big deal.” I try to persuade my conscience. But it is a big deal. Isabelle, Thank you soooo much for this reminder that we should be examples of Christ-like patience. I really needed to hear it.

    • I completely understand! Honestly, this article came from the my realization of how important patience is, and often how little I pursue it. I’m glad my failures and lessons can encourage you in your walk!

  • I’ve always struggled with the issue of patience, and sometimes I don’t even have the patience work on this area of my life 😉 Thank you so much for this article! This is something I have a long ways to go on!

  • Thanks Isabelle! I totally agree that we have become impatient because we haven’t had to be. Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll be looking at it in my own life now… 🙂

  • Thanks, Isabelle! This a great reminder! Patience has always been one of my weaker points in life. I find that in every season of my life, I am having to wait for something, yet I often don’t wait with patience. Even right now there is something that I am having to let go of, sit back, and let God take control of, while trying to wait patiently for his answer, which most likely is very different than what I want it to be, yet is certain to be far more glorious.

  • Patience is definitely not my strong suite. And it so happens I was especially impatient last night (*guilty conscience*). There are definitely areas I need to apply patience, like waiting out my tough job (that I plan on quitting…ugh!) while being patient with the (mostly super naughty) kids I teach there. God has taught me so much in the past month about finding strength (and patience) in Him!

    • Well, I’ll be completely honest and confess that waiting on this article proved how much farther I need to go in my pursuit of patience. The whole day it was supposed to come out, I jumped on my computer every five minutes, and had almost my pulled my hair out before I realized the irony of the situation… 🙂

    • I’m praying that you would have patience and strength in your job, Emma! Kids can be sooooo tough but if you listen to them and handle them with patience, they can teach you so much. Jesus cared so much about children that He held them on His lap — and they were actually being naughty according to their parents’ standards! The disciples didn’t want them climbing on such a great teacher or bothering Him, but Jesus took time for them anyways because they were so precious to Him.
      <3 Your sister in Christ,

  • I literally just my dad that I’m inpatient. I have patience with people but I do not like waiting on things and I will do anything to speed up the process of waiting. Patience is definitely something I struggle with. It is not commonly preached about though. It is like something we all know we need to do and it doesn’t need to be explained. Thank you for stepping up and reminding us of patience!

  • Miss Ingalls–just curious–which part of Texas do you live in? (I was born in Austin and used to live just south of there).

    • West Texas, about an hour from Abilene, where it is usually really, really dry. Fortunately, I’ve gotten to see green grass and rain this year! ;D

  • Thanks for writing this, Isabelle! This is definitely an area I need to work on. It’s amazing how little patience we have these days since we hardly ever have to wait for things!

  • Great reminder! In a world where most things are available immediately, we often take it for granted. I have a toddler brother, who can be very impatient at times. I tell him he needs to wait and be patient, which he doesn’t like doing. But how patient am I in my daily life? Sure, I don’t whine and cry when I don’t get my food right away (I go make it myself!), but I complain about my computer running slow, or heavy traffic, or waiting in long lines at a store.

  • Great article! I was thinking about how impatient we get when I had to wait at the DMV for 20 minutes to take my permit test. It was a good time to practice being patient though, and I got some nice time to think without any distractions

  • So am I the only one who yells at WiFi or Netflix when they don’t listen to me??

    Great article, thanks! And are you related to Laura Ingalls Wilder? Had to ask.

    • No ma’am, my computer is often the main receiver of my anger. 🙂
      And yes, I actually am related! Three greats- back was Charles’ uncle, so four greats- back was her great-grandfather. (I think… Not sure how accurate those numbers are) 😀

      • wow, that’s so cool! My mom loves the little house books and tv series. So she found this way to cool 🙂 And I’ve yelled at my computer too, when I accidentally post something before I proofed it my family hears “NOOO!!!” and they think something really bad happened!

  • When I loose my patience usaly waiting for important emails I often throw my phone across the room. Yeah not the best idea in the world.

    Great Article @BelleIngalls ! It made me realize how impatient I am with out thinking about it sometimes.

    • Yes, I see how that response could end up being problematic… 😀
      And thank you! I’m glad God could use my struggle (which I honestly thought was mainly a shortcoming which few people had to deal with) to encourage you and others! I hope you keep growing in the Lord!

  • Great. An Eye Opener. I always said I was patient but truth is after reading this I’m not. Thanks for sharing, its time for me to work on my patience. 😊

  • Yeah, our generation isn’t very patient. For me it’s not so much social media, but I definitely need more patience in other areas.
    Thanks, this article has been really good. I will work on fixing this area! 😉

  • True Christianity is a bit of a culture shock to us, its not easy, instant, or particularly appealing sometimes. We lose our patience when God doesn’t respond right away or when we don’t feel close to Him. Thanks for this Isabelle, patience is definitely something I could use more of. God bless!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →