For this last stretch of Lent, I’ve been trying to grow in patience in a few small key ways.
I started to limit tracking things.
I noticed that I would unnecessarily follow things and that my time and mental energy could be better spent elsewhere. For example, when ordering packages online, I like to daily track their progress so I can see when they ship and when they should arrive at my house. That is entirely unwarranted–seeing where they are doesn’t make them arrive any faster and it isn’t crucial to see how long it took to transfer from one shipping carrier to another.
Or blog stats. When I post a blog, I like to monitor it to see how many views it gets and when they come in. Which countries are viewing my blog? What website leads them to my blog? All of which is unnecessary to follow so diligently. Occasionally looking at it is one thing, but semi-obsessively checking it in the first few hours or day after posting isn’t helpful.
I even noticed that I will habitually check my tire pressure, percentage of oil remaining, and battery life as I drive between work and home. Sometimes I do it so absentmindedly that I have to check it again because the numbers didn’t sink in as I reflexively scrolled through the stats. Over the past few days, I have found my left hand nearly twitching to see the various car facts appear on the display screen.
All of this, of course, simply reveals that I have quite a ways to go before I need to launch into truly holy endeavors. I mean, saints don’t generally talk about how they need to stop tracking their online purchases or limit looking at how their blog posts are doing. But we start where we are, right? And this is where I am–focusing my thoughts and energy on things that have minimal importance and overlooking the things that are truly important.
It is an exercise in patience with myself to resist the urge to fall into typical habits. I get slightly annoyed with myself when I wonder how much time until I receive the set of steak knives I ordered online and then intentionally resist the desire to track their progress. It is good to not continually check how a blog post does, but rather to write it, post it, and then let whatever happens, happen. Though small and nearly inconsequential, it is re-routing my heart to care less about the numbers and more about living where I am right now. Which is something this world-weary heart could always use a bit more of.
What is a way you can grow in patience during this Lenten season? What are habits that draw you away from being present and cause you to focus on aspects of little importance? Whatever it is, know I’m over here fighting this (small) battle alongside you….however many of you are even reading this thing.