How have the first three months of 2017 gone for you? Did you hit the ground running in January with your list of New Year’s resolutions? Were you refreshed and ready to take on 2017 with guns blazing?
How about now? If you find yourself feeling discouraged because x, y, and z (otherwise known as “life”) got in the way, take heart. You are in good company, and you are not a lost cause. Progress is still part of your present and your future.
I have decided that this is me:
Forget the tortoise. I am the snail. And I’m cool with it.
It feels pretty good to embrace snail speed. I tried so hard to push against it, but it turns out acceptance of snail speed is the first step towards tortoise speed, which I may graduate to next year. Or in 2027. I like being unpredictable. In the meantime, I’ll be sliming along with some sunglasses and a tall glass of ice water.
Want to know what else makes snail speed possible? Patience. Isn’t that a great word? It’s my word for 2017, and the reason I was able to finally embrace the snail in me. That word kept shining brightly in my mind towards the end of December as I thought more about what I wanted for the upcoming year.
Religious leader Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.” Doesn’t that sound dreamy? “A purifying process.” I love that.
Everyone knows how much our world wants to smother patience. We lose sight of it with every passing year as we “progress” as a society. We think of a question and then we grab our phone and ask Siri for the answer. Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore Siri. She helps me stay sane by helping me brain dump all week.
However, can you remember having to wait until you could go to the library to answer questions? And then when you got to the library you actually had to go find the right book. And then you actually had to read the book to find the answer! It’s crazy, I know.
Here’s another one. I want to tell my mom about something cute my baby did, so I shoot her a text. She can read it instantly. People used to write letters? What? And then a pony carried it miles away and the receiver read it three months later. I almost feel like I’m speaking in riddles. That kind of waiting is unfathomable in our day and age.
This year I’m going to reclaim patience. Patience for my four fascinating boys, patience for my husband, patience with my day-to-day routines, and most importantly, patience with myself. I’m going to grant myself more patience. Doesn’t that sound relaxing and forgiving?
I listened to a webinar with Kelly Jensen, an Instagrammer who is well followed because of her “Live Lists,” and she continually mentioned that she wanted her home to be a “soft place to land” for her kids. I love when my home feels that way: safe, peaceful, joyful. I want that for my family, and I want that for myself. Patience is essential in creating that kind of atmosphere.
Here’s another great quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith.”
Give yourself patience if you feel bogged down and overwhelmed by all of the things you want to become. Snail speed, remember? It’s okay to embrace it.
Of course, my goal isn’t to be 100 percent patient 100 percent of the time, because that’s setting myself up for failure. Patience with myself also means being patient in acquiring more patience. I may be at snail speed, but I’m still moving forward and that gives me warm fuzzies. Here’s to sliming my way through 2017.
QUESTION: Is there a specific area or problem in your life right now that might become easier to handle if you focused on practicing a little more patience?
CHALLENGE: For the next week, month, or even year, focus on living life at a slower speed and building more patience. Brainstorm a few specific ways that you might do this successfully, and write them down somewhere for future reference.
Edited by Lisa Hoelzer and Katie Carter
Feature Image from Pixabay; graphics by Anna Jenkins