Sunday, September 4, 2011

Patience...Waiting Can Be Hard.

{photo found here}

"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.

What started as a simple experiment with children and marshmallows became a landmark study suggesting that the ability to wait—to be patient—was a key character trait that might predict later success in life."

Knowing myself all too well, there is little doubt which kid I would have been in this experiment.  Can you guess?  Yep, that's right...the kid who couldn't fight off the urge to snag the big marshmallow before the 15 minutes were up.  In fact, if I were a betting woman, I'd say I probably would not have lasted 1 minute! 

Which kid would you have been in this experiment?

Now as far as this lack of patience trait determining my success later in life, I don't know how I feel about that.  While I'm not wildly successful I guess you would say from a "worldly perspective" I do feel I have accomplished much and have achieved success in my life in the areas where it counts the most.  I am married to the most wonderful husband, I have been blessed to be the mother of the most amazing son and I have loving parents and siblings who I adore.  I have achieved a level of education which has blessed me in me so many ways and instilled in me a deep appreciation for being a life-long learner.  Something I hope to pass on to my own child(ren) while I have them under my roof.  

The idea of having greater patience and waiting is something I still struggle with in certain areas of my life.  The greatest being my desire to be the mother to more children. For whatever reason, God is allowing me to wait for this gift.  A gift that I realize may never come to fruition a second time (in this life).  Having greater patience has proved to be and continues to be a refining process for me.  I know that in the "waiting", I'm more likely to grow as a person and gain more Godly attributes along the way.  Yet even knowing this, it doesn't make it any easier to accept when I seem to be waiting for the things in my life that I want so badly.

This concept of patience has been on my mind a great deal this week.  As many of you know, we are still awaiting the CPS adoption committee to make a selection for the little girls we are hoping to adopt.  We are hopeful they will make a placement decision some time this month.  In all reality, we most likely have a slim chance of being chosen; however, both Jody and I refuse to give up hope until we have a final answer. 

A favorite spiritual message I heard on having patience is this one.  If you have time to read it, you really should.  I pulled it out re-read it this past week.  Here are a few gems I most enjoyed from this message....

 Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well.

Every one of us is called to wait in our own way. We wait for answers to prayers. We wait for things which at the time may appear so right and so good to us that we can’t possibly imagine why Heavenly Father would delay the answer.

 God’s promises are not always fulfilled as quickly as or in the way we might hope; they come according to His timing and in His ways.... I know for sure that the promises of the Lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain.

Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. 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.

Patience means staying with something until the end. It means delaying immediate gratification for future blessings. It means reining in anger and holding back the unkind word. It means resisting evil, even when it appears to be making others rich.

Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith.

Patience is a process of perfection. The Savior Himself said that in your patience you possess your souls. 

Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. 

Sunday thoughts-- from me to you....


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