A few years ago, I constructed my own Happiness Project based on the book by Gretchen Rubin. In it, she shares a journey she took trying to discover the ‘secret’ to happiness and she inspired me to do the same. So here, on this blog in 2011, I chronicled a journey where I had 4 goals a month shaped after Gretchen’s but tailored to my personal life. I learned a lot of things I still put into practice today like if you clean your sinks first, you feel better about cleaning the rest. I also learned one of my secrets to a happy life is continuously writing down (or at least recognizing) items for which I am grateful.
The biggest lesson I put into practice weekly, if not daily, is you must know what your personal truths are and those truths will not be true for everyone.
As I wrap up this month on patience, I’m thinking holistically of what it means to live a life exhibiting patience but whatever I find to be truly an exhibition won’t be the same thing you find to ring true. Then I realized maybe here is a character trait of patience I’ve overlooked – what if patience is not only a synonym for endurance, for grace and for waiting but it is also a synonym for tolerance?
Tolerance means a lot of things, but in this election season and in these tumultuous times with bullies and hurricanes and hate, I think tolerance and patience mean living a life modeled after someone who spent His life reaching out to the ‘rejects’ – the prostitutes, the blue-collars. Tolerance means hearing words you would prefer spoken differently, allowing others to view life differently, drive a different car, laugh at different jokes. Seems easy enough, yet I am willing to bet all of us fail daily at not judging others’ way of living.
My personal truths are these:
- Show up if you say you’re going to show up. People need you in all ways, and saying you’ll be there in any of those ways means you show up.
- Jesus loves me enough to listen to me and help me and want me. He loves you just as much.
- If something isn’t good, change it. If you can’t change it, make it good
- Life is filled with ‘anyways’ – times where you must love people ‘anyway’, do work ‘anyway’, become better ‘anyway.’
Just 4 of the beliefs I live by daily and you may not believe any of them. And it is okay. Because tolerance means loving people anyway with patience and grace.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. [2 Peter 3:9]
So tonight and tomorrow, when you’re tempted to correct or to preach or to reprimand, take a breath and have some patience. And thank you for reading this journey with me in October. 31 days went faster than expected and I hope you learned or laughed or both.
See you tomorrow.
Today is day thirty in my 31 days of patience series. For all posts in the series, click here.
PS: I highly recommend reading Gretchen’s book, The Happiness Project. She’s also recently released Happier at Home. Her writing style is easy to read but filled with insight and humor.