Seriously, this is how I’ve been feeling since we left the house yesterday morning for our family’s spring-break vacation.
One clergy friend sympathized, commenting, “Insanity is inherited from children.” If only that were true! I replied to him: “They at least bring out the insanity that’s already there!”
Richard Foster has written about this problem before. When we fast, for example, we often find ourselves irritable and short-tempered. We’re tempted to blame it on the hunger pangs. “My lack of food is causing me to respond in this childish way.” (If we’re not fasting, it could as easily be a lack of sleep or, in my case, especially, a lack of caffeine.) The truth is, Foster says, the anger and contentiousness are already there in our souls. Fasting is just unmasking what’s already there.
I hope it’s a sign of growth on my part that I recognize the problem. I’ve been praying about it. In fact, when I felt myself losing patience today, I prayed a series of three “sentence prayers” in my head, which N.T. Wright recommends in Simply Christian. You might consider praying them as well:
Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, set up your kingdom in our midst.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Holy Spirit, breath of the living God, renew me and all the world.
What’s your strategy for coping with a lack of patience?