Patience is not my “thing.” I get impatient with circumstances. I get impatient with other people. And most of all, I get impatient with myself. Last month, after finishing the morning show, I was working on some programming projects. Not much was getting done; I was spinning my wheels and knew I needed a change of perspective. Impatiently, I announced “I’m heading out. Not sure when I’ll be back.”
I got in my car and wound up at the grocery store. I had no list. And no agenda. The Valentine’s merch was out, so I picked up a couple things for my girls and got in line. I chose one with a cashier instead of just speeding through self-serve. After all, I was there for a change of perspective.
The woman in front of me had two kids: a toddler and a preschooler. Her cart was overflowing. She was wrangling coupons and wiping runny noses. She kept apologizing. I just smiled and shook my head. “No need to apologize.” The man behind me was doing the impatient “huff.” In that moment I was overflowing with patience. As I made goo-goo faces at her toddler, the Mama swiped her benefits cards and headed out.
My red and white Haribo packages rolled up the belt. The cashier looked at me, exhausted, “My back is killing me.” “Take a second. Ring up my order real slow,” I replied, with a smirk. I entered my pin at a glacial pace, told her to have a good day and grabbed my bag. Thank you, Lord, for perspective, and an opportunity to practice patience.
Jackie Hill-Perry recently posted some practical advice for anyone in ministry: “Study the community and the people that God has given you proximity to. You don’t have to know everything about everybody, but you should know something about the people God has placed you near. It’ll help you love them so much better. Trust me.”
When was the last time you got out of the four walls of your station and saw how your listeners really live? What do they truly need? What are their struggles? We can say the same words at the same time, but the heart behind what we say is the difference between serving your community and lip service.
I’m still learning. I’m glad God is so patient with me.
Assistant Program Director, Family Life