edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
hey everyone and peace to you all,

I need some advice with patience. I'm really impatient at times. Any advice to help me keep my cool?

Thank you


  • Hi Marina,

    I struggle with the very same issue--especially at work!  I remind myself of the "eternal perspective," bearing in mind death and the Second Coming of Christ.  By doing this, I find myself realizing that 99% of the things I am impatient about really are not worth it, as they damage my soul and possibly the souls of those around me. 

    Also, talk to Jesus and pour out your heart to the Panagia--St. Mary the Theotokos.  "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner."  This is a very simple, and yet powerful and personal prayer of the heart that can and should be said anytime and often. 

    I'm not sure if you are married, but for myself I talk with my wife about my struggles in patience and ask her for her prayers.  Also, maybe take some time to talk with your father confessor or an older and well-respected (and gentle) woman in your church about this, as they will no doubt have more beneficial insights and/or disciplines for you in coping with impatience. 

  • Also, I'd like to share something else for you and everyone else.  When the priests and bishops in the Eastern Orthodox Church put on their pectoral crosses, they say a special prayer about the cross.  We've been encouraged in our church to learn and also say this prayer whenever we put on our cross (that is if we wear one that we take off--I wear one that I cannot wear in the shower or to bed under my clothing), and the prayer is based on a verse in Luke that Jesus said about following him.  It goes like this: Pick up the cross and as you prepare it for putting it on, say, "He that would deny himself, let him take up his cross and follow me, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.  Amen."  with the "alway, now and ever..." make the sign of the cross on yourself with the cross you will be wearing in your right hand, then put it on as you say "Amen."  This is a practice that I have adopted and developed a little and I incorporate it with my morning prayers.  It's really nice to start the day worshipping God and committing myself to the way of the cross each day by doing this, as does draw my focus back to Jesus when I get impatient, stressed, overwhelmed, saddened, or am given into a passion of any kind. 

    I pray this wasn't too much all at once, and I pray more that it will be beneficial.  Also, I will add you to my prayer list. 
  • Hi Marina,

    I think it takes a lot of honesty to identify the need for change - being aware of this is already one step in changing. I REALLY like Joseph's suggestions, especially the part about looking to the second coming of Christ. It's through changing our mindset (as Joseph said) to be always anticipating Christ's second coming that we learn patience with those around us.

    In James 5:7-8 we read,
    "Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

    So practically, how do we change our mindset? Speaking from my own, limited experience, I think prayer always has to come first. Ask God to teach you patience and to give you the peace necessary to deal with stressful situations, whether they're created by yourself or others around you.

    Learning Psalms off by heart is a great way to keep your mind focused too. Even taking any verse from the Bible and trying to contemplate on it throughout your day will keep you aware of God's presence in your daily life. Over time as God's presence becomes more and more familiar during even the most boring parts of your day (school, work, etc.) you begin to enjoy His peace. Once you're filled with God's peace, even the most stressfully frustrating situations seem like nothing.

    How about every time you feel your patience wearing thin, you take a moment to lift your heart to Christ? You can take 10 seconds to take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, and then pray a very quick prayer. And if you find yourself in a prolonged situation where you feel you're losing patience, I like to apply what I call the "Hundred Years Test". If I'm stuck in traffic, late for work and I'm becoming inpatient with other drivers around me...will this situation make a single bit of difference in a hundred years? Not one bit! Like Joseph said, it's all about acquiring an eternal perspective.

    And remember, it takes a while to learn patience...ironically you have to be patient in that respect is well :)

  • Hi Marina,

    First and foremost, I would recommend speaking with your father of confession, especially before taking on any exercises to obtain this virtue.

    Fr. Athanasius Iskander wrote about patience in his book titled "Practical Spirituality":


    The importance of patience is given to us by the Lord Himself. Speaking of the Great Tribulation that will come before His second coming, the Lord tells us, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matt 10:22) and again, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19)

    In speaking of these last days that precede His second coming, the Lord tells us, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) and again, “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt 24:12) What this means is that faith and love will be weakened in those perilous days, but “he that endureth (is patient) to the end shall be saved.” And by patience one can possess (or preserve) his soul. Patience may be the virtue that saves one in those last days.

    The Book of Revelation, which speaks to us about the last days, again stresses the importance of patience in overcoming the difficulties of those last days. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev 14:12)

    But patience is not only important for survival in the last days, it is important for our spiritual survival period. “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb 10:36) Even after doing the will of God we still need patience in order to receive the promises of God. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7) Patience is what keeps us going, and struggling towards perfection, in the hope for the “precious fruit.” Again, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” so tells us Saint Paul (Heb 12:1). Notice that St. Paul likens our spiritual struggle for perfection to an athletic race!


    Like with any other virtue, ask the guidance of your Father in confession, then pray to God asking Him to guide you in using the many occasions that he grants you everyday in order to practice patience. Do not, however, imitate the person who prayed to God saying, “God please give me patience, and I want it right now!”

    God, in His love towards us gives us plenty of chances to practice and acquire this important virtue of patience. Unfortunately, because we are not “tuned” towards God properly, we fail to realize these opportunities and most of the time we miss taking advantage of them.

    For example, you are out of a job and it has been two month now. You have sent hundreds of resumes to various places, you have been praying fervently, but, alas, not a single response. You start blaming God and asking, “Why is God doing this to me?” The answer is this, God is giving you a golden opportunity to practice patience. It is the easiest thing for God to give you a job right away, but an instant job will not lead you into the Kingdom of Heaven, patience will. So, God gives you a chance to practice and acquire patience, and the sooner you do it, the sooner he will give you that job!

    More often than not, we are absorbed in the problem, trying to find out why is God doing this, or trying to solve it on our own without ever realizing why God in His mercy is sending us this problem. Saint Paul tells us in Romans 8:28, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” That means every thing that happens to us is for our own good, if we love God. A wise person then, as soon as something happens that he does not understand, should ask himself, what message is God sending me? What virtue does God want me to practice now?

    Saint Paul again tells us in Hebrews 12:11, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” What this means is this, even though initially, the problem may not be something that brings joy to us, yet if we use it as an exercise in patience, the fruits will give us peace and joy.

    “My kids are driving me crazy!” said a mother to me, and I told her, you are lucky! Your kids are the school of virtue which will lead you to eternal life, you should thank God for them!

    The Bible tells us again and again that “problems” are good for us because they teach us patience. “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:3_4) That means, trials and tribulations create patience in us, but we are warned that this “work of patience” has to be perfected (through practice) before we ourselves reach our goal of Christian perfection.

    Saint Paul tells us the same thing in Romans 5:3_4, “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience.”

    Once we get it into our heads that all difficulties that are sent our way are meant for our own good, that we may through them exercise ourselves and be experienced in patience, we will have no problem acquiring this saving virtue.

    Having recognized the “problem” as an opportunity to practice patience, I have to prepare my mind for using this opportunity to its fullest potential, or “let the patience have its perfect work” as Saint James tells us.

    If it has been two months without an interview, I should resolve within my mind, “Even if it takes two years without a job, in order to acquire perfect patience, I will endure it.” Comfort yourself by saying, “God loves me, and that is why he wants to give me the incorruptible instead of the corruptible, the heavenly instead of the earthly and the eternal instead of the temporal.”

    Strengthen yourself by saying, “ The sooner I resolve within myself to ‘endure to the end’ the sooner will God solve the problem for me.”

    One of the saints once said, “You cannot describe to someone the taste of honey, he has to taste it himself.” What this means is, you have to try this yourself. You have to exercise yourself in this virtue faithfully before you feel the sweet results of your exercise. And the results are worth it. For they will endure with you. Once you have completed this exercise successfully, the experience will remain with you till the end of your life. You will always go back to the same resolve that you initially showed and remember the sweet fruits of that resolve, how God after giving you the grace of patience throughout your tribulation, has lifted your tribulation and has given you more than you ever hoped or asked for. You are now well grounded in patience and ready to move on to the next step on the ladder that leads to Christian perfection.

    ( ; pages 50-53)

    I know it's a bit lengthy, but it's worth the read. However, if you're too lazy to read it, I would recommend listening to the sermon titled "The Virtues of Obedience and Patience" which can be found here:

    But just to drive home my first point, please speak to your confession father. Fr. Athanasius writes this at the beginning of his book:

    A word of caution to our readers: these articles are not intended to be a do it yourself manual for spirituality. So, before you start to apply what is written in them, please consult your father in confession. Some of the exercises may not be suitable for you, and only your father in confession can give you the right advise in this regard.

    Pray for me,

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