“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.“Proverbs 14:29
“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.“Billy Graham
You know when your day just starts off bad and everything else afterwards is escalated and horrible for no apparent reason? That’s how my day started today. I woke up at 7 am and tossed and turned from 7 until my alarm went off at 10. In other words, I didn’t get those 3 hours of sleep like I wished I had. Then I get in my car to run some errands and my gas light was on. Again. I hate having to pay for gas – it seems useless. I know it’s not useless because if I didn’t pay for gas I’d be biking or walking everywhere. Or in jail because I didn’t pay for it!! But it still seems a pain to me for whatever reason. Anyway, I then proceed to the tire store where I had an appointment to have tires put on my car. Fast forward 2 hours, I’m sitting here at the second tire store thinking about my interaction with the first tire store people. And let me tell you I am beyond embarrassed. Patience is sometimes hard to come by, but I’d been doing so well. I hadn’t gotten upset over ridiculous things in a while (and let me tell you there have been some ridiculous things happening around me). I’ve really been focusing on my patience. I can’t control people or things around me, but I CAN control my response to people and things around me. And that’s way more important anyway. Being patient in your responses and reactions to things around you is an amazing quality. I’d been doing great with not responding to these ridiculous things. Until today.
Two weeks ago I went to the first tire store and talked to the man there about the 2 pairs of tires I wanted to buy but wanted a price check and warranty check, etc. I left the store with good information that I later relayed to my dad. We figured out which tires to go with so I drove back to the tire store a week and a half ago and had the tires shipped since they didn’t have them in store. I then set up an appointment the following week to get the tires put on my car. That appointment was today at 12 pm. I get to the tire store a little after 12, I think it was 12:08 to be exact. “Sorry I’m late, I’m here to have tires put on my car” I say to the man behind the counter. He proceeds to take my keys and I sit down in the waiting area. He told me it would be between an hour and an hour and a half. So at 1:07 when my phone rings, I think my car is ready. I answer the phone excitedly, only to be disappointed. And not just a casual they didn’t have the bagel I wanted disappointed. This is a major they didn’t have my peanut m&ms when all I was craving was peanut m&ms disappointed. The man on the phone told me he just pulled my car back into the shop (59 minutes later I might add) and noticed the two rims on the right side of my car are chipped (s/o to that devilish pothole 18 months ago). He goes so far as to tell me he will NOT put the tires on my car with chipped rims. I only have 1 option here – get new rims. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal. But I’m supposed to be driving to Atlanta this weekend and really need new tires. And my patience jar was empty. So this is a bad combo. I’m so embarrassed. I started off calm, but the more I was explaining why I needed these tires put on today, the more my heart rate rose. The next thing I know, I am talking very loudly at this man telling him to put the dang tires on my dang car. I’m the car owner I do not care about their policy. I bought these tires and these tires are absolutely going on my car. He firmly told me no and he would not be doing that. Big mistake Mr. I Know All About Tires and Rims and I’m Enforcing the Rules Big Tire Guy. So I called my dad and I called my car guy friend. We all discussed how this seemed kind of silly and ridiculous considering I’ve been driving with chipped rims for 18 months aka it’s fine and the rims are not damaging the tires. They understood why he wouldn’t though, I on the other hand did not understand, nor did I want to quite frankly. I was then given instructions as to what to do next. So I hung up with both of them and told the tire man to put the tires in the trunk of my car, refund me for the installation and balancing they would not be doing, and I was going to be driving down the road to have someone else put the tires on my car. Well, a p p a r e n t l y *eye roll* if you buy the tires and leave without them putting the tires on, they won’t honor the warranty. So I demanded, very rudely I might add, for a refund for all of it. The whole time this is going on, I’m not patient, I’m upset, and I’m kinda rude. I was using mean words because I thought this was ridiculous. And now I’m embarrassed. I should never have acted and spoken like that. The man was just doing his job. I understand (although I still think it’s silly because the rims are not messing the tires up in any way shape or form but ok) that there are precautions they must take. And putting tires on a chipped rim is against the rules. Whatevssss.
So anyway, fast forward to present time and I’m still sitting in the second tire store while they put my newly purchased tires from this store for the exact same price onto my car. Now that I’m out of the situation and I can think clearly, I see how ridiculous the situation was. The fact that they wouldn’t put the tires on my car isn’t the ridiculous part of the situation. Shocking, I know!! How I acted was the ridiculous part. I can’t control people and things around me. I am learning that everyday. The girl who sat behind me in class and munched on what I’m convinced was the loudest apple in the entire world, I can’t control. I most definitely wanted to tell her to put the dang apple away until after class, but I couldn’t. It was not my place to say anything. It was also not my place to try and argue about the tire policy and whether or not they’ll put the tires on my car or not. So to the first tire man who was doing his job, I apologize for totally trying to control both you and the situation. I let my impatience get the best of me. I should never have acted that way.
At this point in my life, I am well aware that things do not always go the way I plan. I’m learning that while I can’t control other people and things around me, I can and SHOULD control my reactions and responses. And the main key in controlling my actions and my responses is patience. If I don’t have patience, my reactions and responses are not Christian-like. And I’m still embarrassed about how I acted in that situation today. I was displaying folly and not acting Christian-like. Proverbs 14 tells us that one who is patient has understanding. And that’s something I lacked in my interaction with the first tire man. I wasn’t patient so I didn’t understand the situation at hand. Had I been patient and calm, how I am now that I’m out of the situation, I would have had a better understanding. I would have understood that he wasn’t refusing to put the tires on my car to make me mad or be mean. He wasn’t putting the tires on my car for safety reasons and for liability reasons. If something were to happen, I could either get hurt or come back and sue them saying they caused the issue/didn’t warn me about the issue. I see that clear as day. But unfortunately, I see it too late. I’ve already left the store. I’ve already acted out. I’ve already said things I shouldn’t have said. So what can I do now?
I have 2 options.
- Option 1 – continue going on with my day grumpy, upset, and impatient. I can see the headlines now: “young girl arrested for causing scene in tire store, for road rage, for pouring coffee on barista for giving her the wrong order, for yelling at the ice-cream scooper for said young girl being lactose intolerant, for being a grumpy pants, and for public indecency in the form of sobbing uncontrollably”. That’s highly exaggerated, but you get the point. If I just go on with my day not thinking about the consequences, not thinking about what happened and evaluating how I can move from there, I’m bound to continue acting out in harsh ways. Option 1 is not a good option. I’m gonna veto this option before I go any farther.
- Option 2 – grow from the situation and give myself grace. Ding ding ding. This sounds like a good option. Billy Graham’s quote reminds me that life is made up of mistakes and learning. This was definitely a situation in which I made a mistake. I acted hastily and displayed folly. But the story doesn’t end there. I can learn from this. This doesn’t have to be a situation in which I made a mistake and that’s all there is to it. Heavens no. I can learn from this. I might not have practiced patience today, but practicing patience is now on the forefront of my brain again. And this is important to recognize!
Life is all about learning and growing. You don’t learn and you don’t grow in one day. Nor do you mess everything up in one day, either. In the past, I beat myself up for acting the way I acted today. But today I’m reminded that there is grace. I don’t even have to wait until tomorrow morning to receive this grace. I can receive this grace right now and start learning from this right now. Having patience never hurt anybody. In fact, it’s a blessing to yourself and to those around you. The quicker I’m able to give myself grace and accept the grace the Lord offers, the quicker I’m able to practice being patient. I want to be patient and quick to understand, just like Jesus. I don’t want to be quick-tempered. Being patient will give me great understanding in a world where I desperately need understanding. I was only seeing the story from my perspective – I needed tires today and I wasn’t going to be getting said tires today. That upset me. But that’s my perspective of the story. That’s what I understood. But the tire mans perspective was completely different. He wasn’t seeing it as a situation in which he’s purposely not putting tires on my car to ruin my day. He’s simply not putting the tires on my car because he’s not allowed to. I highly doubt the man running the counter was the man who made the rules. So he’s just doing what he’s supposed to do. Had I been patient I would have understood that. I also might have been a great example of who Jesus Christ is. But I wasn’t patient, so I didn’t understand, so I wasn’t a good example. But I understand that now. I can practice being patient the next time I’m faced with a challenging situation. And I hope you’ll do the same. I hope you don’t have to practice patience. I hope patience is your most dominant God given gift. But if you’re reading this, I have a feeling you struggle with patience, too.
If you’ve let your impatience get the best of you recently, there’s grace. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Start practicing patience again. And if you haven’t been impatient lately, be reminded to continue practicing patience. Don’t let your guard down just because you’ve been patient lately. That’s when the devil will sneak in and getcha. I want to be a light for Jesus; I want others to see Jesus in me. Being impatient is not how to go about this. Jesus is the most patient man to ever walk this earth. If I want to be like Jesus, I must practice patience on a daily basis. So girl, practice your patience – with both yourself and with those around you. Remember, you can’t control people or things around you, so be patient with them. And be even more patient with yourself when you become impatient. Remember Billy Graham’s quote. Life is made up of mistakes. Learn from times of impatience and grow in that learning to be an even more patient person tomorrow than you were today. Practice patience today. Practice patience tomorrow. Be a patient person in this world of impatience. Be a blessing to those around you.