There are different levels of patience
1. Patience with self
2. Patient with others
3. Patient with blessings- waiting on the blessings you expect as you keep the commandment
4. Patience in answers to prayers
In the 1960s, a professor at Stanford University began a modest experiment testing the willpower of four-year-old children. He placed before them a large marshmallow and then told them they could eat it right away or, if they waited for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.
He then left the children alone and watched what happened behind a two-way mirror. Some of the children ate the marshmallow immediately; some could wait only a few minutes before giving in to temptation. Only 30 percent were able to wait.
It was a mildly interesting experiment, and the professor moved on to other areas of research, for, in his own words, “there are only so many things you can do with kids trying not to eat marshmallows.” But as time went on, he kept track of the children and began to notice an interesting correlation: the children who could not wait struggled later in life and had more behavioral problems, while those who waited tended to be more positive and better motivated, have higher grades and incomes, and have healthier relationships.
Relationships are based on characteristics such as patience. Patience is not just enduring trials, it is also dealing with others, how you react to the ups and downs of life, how you react to yourself, and with God. There are many levels of patience but one is no more important than the next.
When we think of patience the first thing we think of is trials. Why do we need trails? We grow through our trials that make us who we are today. At the time we may not understand why things are not going the way we want them to but knowing that God has a plan. The children of Israel waited 40 years in the wilderness before they could enter the Promised Land. Jacob waited 7 long years for Rachel. The Jews waited 70 years in Babylon before they could return to rebuild the temple. The Nephites waited for a sign of Christ’s birth, even knowing that if the sign did not come, they would perish. Joseph Smith’s trials in Liberty Jail caused even the prophet of God to wonder, “How long?” D&C 121:39-45 How often are we the ones asking the lord How long must I suffer? Why am I here and not receive an answer? In each case, Heavenly Father had a purpose in requiring that His children wait. Because Patience is more than just enduring, it is enduring well. Many of the hard ships and trials appear sever. This life is not always easy it’s a time of proving that is how it was meant to be. Whatever the source of the trial it causes pain and hardship for those involved and those around them.
We often can utter the same prayer that Christ uttered in the garden. “Abba (Father) If it be thy will let this cup pass from me.” That cup didn’t pass from Christ he needed to experience that trial just as we need our trials. Those trials bring us to our knees; they make us who the Lord sees us becoming.
Patience in trials comes as we accept the will of the father. “Not my will but thine be done.” As we approach the Lord in heart felt prayer we are able to better understand the need of these trials. Looking back on my own life I see trials that I had, at the time they seemed so big so important, but now they were not that big but they did help me to grow. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness
“We live in a world offering fast food, instant messaging, on-demand movies, and immediate answers to the most trivial or profound questions. We don’t like to wait. Some even feel their blood pressure rise when their line at the grocery store moves slower than those around them.
Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue. We want what we want, and we want it now. Therefore, the very idea of patience may seem unpleasant and, at times, bitter. Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God. “ We often want the instantaneous results with out the work. “Brigham Young taught that when something came up which he could not comprehend fully, he would pray to the Lord, “Give me patience to wait until I can understand it for myself.”5 And then Brigham would continue to pray until he could comprehend it.
We must learn that in the Lord’s plan, our understanding comes “line upon line, precept upon precept.”6
For me the biggest trial in patience is being patient with my self. We are our worst critics often times simply because we know we can do better and we expect more from ourselves then from other people, or the fact that you have to look yourself in the mirror every day and know that you are not doing your personal best. We set goals for ourselves sometimes we realize that those goals are unrealistic but we set them anyway and then when we don’t reach them we go about beating ourselves up about it. That is how we as humans work; it’s a vicious cycle of personal abuse.
I am grateful for my Husband because I am very hard on myself, and he often times will be the one to explain to me how silly it is to be frustrated at my self when I can just try to be better. He is right after all. It goes with the old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.” So what if I failed at loosing 5 pounds, it doesn’t mean I have to yell at myself or that the world is going to come to an end. It just means that I try again.
“Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.”8 Ultimately, patience means being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord”9 every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. In the words of John the Revelator, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and . . . faith [in] Jesus.”10
Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls.11 Or, to use another translation of the Greek text, in your patience you win mastery of your souls.12 Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. This was true in the time of the Savior. It is true in our time as well, for we are commanded in these latter days to “continue in patience until ye are perfected.”13