Are you impatient with your impatience?


I had finished my shower, put on clean clothes, and was brushing my teeth before leaving for breakfast. My outside was clean.

But on the inside, I was still a mess.

I was dreading a potential outcome. Complaining about a person. Whining about an annoyance.

It’s the attitude. It’s what gets me.

And I knew it was bad. I told myself, “I’m pathetic,” completing the loop, passing judgment not only on others, but also on myself.

So when I read these words in an e-newsletter from Richard Rohr about Thérèse of Lisieux, I copied them down.

I share them today with you, in case you’re ever impatient with yourself, like I am, for quicker transformation.

When Thérèse, even at her young age, became assistant to the novice mistress, she counseled one sister who was impatient with her own impatience: “Sister, can you be willing to be patient with yourself until God gives you the willingness to be patient with the other sisters?”

I’m grateful that the grace we’re called to give others is the same grace that God wants us to give ourselves.

  • Be patient with your impatience.
  • Be grace-filled toward your gracelessness.
  • Be non-judgmental about your judgmentalism.

We may not always behave cleanly—we (and others) show up messy every day—because of our human frailties. But we are clean because Jesus has said so. We are each loved by God, just as we are.

Whether we can see our insides or not, we can trust that Jesus is still growing us, daily, into more loving human beings, even when progress is slower than we’d like.

There is enough grace for everybody.

Including ourselves.

Is it hard for you to give compassion to yourself? Please share here.

revised from the archives

68 thoughts on “Are you impatient with your impatience?

  1. Mary

    We are clean because Jesus said so…beautiful words to read this morning, Lisa! Thank you. Patience with myself as I strive to be less judgmental of others is something I need to work on.

  2. Bill (cycleguy)

    I am sometimes harder on myself than I am on others. When others talk to me about needing victory over sin, I know what to tell them and show them. I lose all sense of understanding when it comes to telling myself the same stuff.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, Bill. Sometimes when a friend doesn’t know what to do in a situation, I ask her what she’d advise someone else in the same situation. That usually brings more clarity. We usually know what to tell others, but we don’t often take the advice for ourselves. But grace is for all, including us!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Mari-Anna. We were still on the same page since we both quoted today from saints of old. 🙂 It’s wonderful to have years and years of past wisdom to draw from.

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a thought-provoking post!

    Yes, indeed, I have had trouble being compassionate with myself…mostly because I claim “inside knowledge” of the reasons for my failings. But the trouble is that I don’t really have that knowledge at all, just a set of assumption that I pick up to fit a desire to wear a hair shirt, or to escape responsibility for my thoughts and deeds.

    I’m more likely to be compassionate with others because, in most cases, I don’t have a specific agenda. With and for myself, I do. That agenda may be to think of myself as ‘good’, or to wallow in my sin, but the agenda’s always there.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good point, Andrew—the knowledge that we *think* we have about ourselves isn’t necessarily accurate, regardless of how true we believe it to be. And yes, wanting to think of ourselves as “good” often skews our perceptions in so many ways….

  4. Mary Dolan Flaherty

    Oh my goodness, this is so true! Why do we extend the hand of grace, mercy, and kindness to everyone but ourselves? It’s all good for others, but somehow, our messiness, our sin is worse and not worthy of forgiveness. We need to learn to be kind to ourselves! Thank you for this wonderfully thought-provoking message, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is crazy, yes? We work so hard to be compassionate and forgiving to everyone else, yet Jesus said we are to love others as we love ourselves! So we’d do well to give ourselves the same grace. Thanks for understanding, Mary.

      1. Mary Dolan Flaherty

        I guess I’m so aware of this because I’ve seen it so much in myself, and have also written about it several times. I get it, but it’s so fleeting. I go right back to where I was. Then I beat myself up over THAT! (Deep sigh). This is a much needed topic, Lisa.

  5. Denise

    It is choosing the lens with which we look. The cloudy, scratched one of judgement we use on others and ourselves or the crystal clear one of grace given and grace received. It would seem a simple choice and yet, I strain through obscure way more than I want.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s beautiful, Denise. We do have a choice of which lens we look through. May we ever be putting on the glasses of grace and crushing the glasses of condemnation.

  6. Lynn Severance

    Oh, yes, Lisa. Your posting today affirms what I was just pouring out in my journal and sharing with the Lord about these very shortcomings IN ME. How I hate when they pop up ( seemingly out of nowhere ) and keep thrashing at me and disturbing my mind when there is so much good and true and beautiful that are to be my focus.

    In all my shortcomings, how much I need to remember how much God loves me ( even when I may not feel lovable or loved ).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Our thoughts are ever having to be taken captive, yes? Sigh. I suppose it’s another form of spiritual discipline to concentrate on believing the truth not only about God but also about what God says about US. He is love; we are loved. That says it all. Love you, Lynn.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Good insight, Laura–our lack of patience with ourselves doesn’t affect only us. It ripples out to negatively affect others also. Even more reason to lean into God’s grace for ourselves.

  7. Beth

    I just sent a text the other day to my “daughter-in-love” about extending grace to herself. That’s just so hard to do, especially when we’ve not lived long enough to fully recognize God extending it to us over and over again. Thanks for reminding me as well, Lisa. It seems so much easier at times to extend grace to others than to myself. 😉

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a wonderful mother-in-love you already are, Beth. That’s a beautiful blessing to bestow upon her. I suppose we are now the “older” women who are to be wise enough to share such advice. 🙂

  8. Dianna

    Patience with myself …giving myself that margin of grace that I would readily give to others…is one of the hardest spiritual disciplines for me to learn. It hits hard, and then something else creeps up and before I realize it, I’m back there fussing at myself. I’m so grateful for a God who is FULL of grace and extends it FREELY to me. He is much more patient with me than I am. xo

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes it seems like the sweetest people (I’m looking at you, Dianna!) can be the hardest on themselves. I do hope you’re giving yourself all the grace you’ve got coming to you today! Love you, friend.

  9. Natalie

    No condemntion. Of all the things that love is in 1 Corinthians, very few of these are any easier to apply to myself than to others. Thanks for nudging my mind and heart today.

  10. Linda Stoll

    Self-care, self-compassion, self-grace.

    Yes, this I can do.

    Yes, this I need to do.

    So there’ll be something of value to share with another.

    Thanks for this piece, Lisa …


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You do need to give yourself all the self-care that you can right now, Linda. You’ve been through SO much this summer! It’s enough to wear anyone down. May the Lord replenish you with many days off. 🙂 Hugs back to you, friend.

  11. Lisa Morris

    Thank you Lisa for your post today! I was especially encouraged with the truth that Jesus is still growing us. Praise Him for His continued work! I am hanging on to the fact that I/we are clean because He says so! God Bless you. Saw you today on the RARA link up:)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I rely heavily on the fact that he continues to grow us daily! I’m not even close to being all grown up yet. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me.

  12. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! Compassion for myself is a work in progress, I have to say. These words from St. Therese really boil it down to love. Love for myself! I think I’ve always been taught to ‘forget yourself’ and help others. Good advice, but it supposes that I am a full grown-up in my own faith.

    I love the idea of being patient with myself, and then letting that grow out to others. Beautiful!
    (I really like Rohr too!)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve always been taught that too—but if we’re to love others as we love ourselves, that means we are to love ourselves, right? 🙂 Thanks for always showing such love and grace here, Ceil. You’re a blessing. (And Richard Rohr is amazing, yes? His writings always challenge me to think deeper!)

  13. Sharon

    I’d tell you all about my impatience with myself, but I don’t have the time right now – HA! HA!

    Honestly, the thing that makes me most impatient with myself is my incessant worrying. I not only suffer from the terrible anxiety, I also do a wonderful job of condemning myself for being a bad Christian of little faith. Oh that the Lord would teach me to be patient with His work in me, and to be patient with myself while He works!


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I relate to that worrying trait so much, Sharon. I try to remind myself that those thoughts aren’t really who I am. Deep down I DO have the peace that Christ has everything under control. I do believe he’s slowly healing me from some of my worrying, but it’s never as fast as we’d like, right? 🙂

  14. Kortney

    Hi Lisa. Great reminder. I always need to remember God’s grace that covers over me even in my weakness…and I too have a complaining spirit that I am praying the Lord will change in me!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, that grace covers everything. I’ve been working lately on complaining less about one person in particular that really irritates me. That’s been enough of a task for now. ha. Thanks for dropping in, Kortney.

  15. Leah Adams

    Ah patience. Patience with ourselves and others, but also patience with God. It is all a tough go sometimes. I’m so glad that God is patient with me. Stopping in from #TellHisStory.

  16. Mary Geisen

    Beautiful, Lisa! Oh how often have I been impatient with myself. I am not good at extending grace to myself or forgiving myself. Instead I force myself to be perfect when I m anything but that. I love your reminder today to show ourselves compassion. Visiting you from #TellHisStory

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wonder why we do that—set the bar so incredibly high for ourselves. Sigh. But thankfully God continues to give us grace to grow us up into all the virtues, patience being one I need among the most. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Mary.

  17. Jean Wise

    Just lately I have been reminded to be gentle with myself. We had so much company throughout the month of July – I am exhausted, drained, just plain tired. Dawned on me today I need to focus on some self care for more than one day to bounce back to ‘normal” Great title to this blog by the way. Hope you are having a great week.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve heard that since it takes 9 months to put on pregnancy weight, a new mother should give herself 9 months to take it off. Maybe that’s how you need to time the days of rest for yourself, Jean. 🙂 For every day that you had company in July, take that many days in August for you! Blessings to you, friend.

      1. Jean Wise

        HA! I thought that same thing BUT that seemed sooooo long. Talk about impatience. HA. It did take me around half that time to find my groove again, though. Lesson learned: give yourself grace and time to recover and it will probably be more time than what you think.

  18. Lauren English

    Wow, I wrestle with this a lot! When I get in bad moods, I let my own frustration with my attitude make the bad mood even worse! Thanks for this reminder that we are allowed to give ourselves some grace when things are hard (especially since we follow the God of overflowing, never-ending grace!). I needed this today!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it crazy how we slip into that cycle so naturally? I do the same thing. When I do something I don’t want to do, I then get mad at myself for it, just complicating the matter more. But yes, grace even for that! Thank you for sharing this, Lauren, and thank you, Lord, for forgiveness.

  19. floyd

    That’ll preach, sister. The thought of how powerful God is and the perfect blood from Him that allows Him to see us as forgiven even in our ugliest hour is mind stretching. That Love can hardly be grasped with these feeble minds, but I get it enough to be truly humbled and grateful. Thanks for the powerful reminder.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Agreed, Floyd. My feeble mind can’t grasp it either. As far as the east is from the west—some things are just too much for us (well, MANY things, ha). So grateful that God is so full of beautiful wonders!

  20. Elizabeth

    I needed this today, Lisa! We are selling our home of 16 years and buying a new to us home. I’m not so good at living in the chaos of this transition and have been not been my best self, to put it nicely. I need to forgive myself and move on.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Packing up your home and moving off is definitely a high-level stressor, Elizabeth. I do pray you’re able to be gentle with yourself. You deserve much grace with all you have going on with the house and with upcoming travel. Prayers going up for you now!

  21. Tiffany

    I often forget that all of grace, but God is reminding me His grace covers all. Thanks for giving us permission to rest in that, Lisa. Blessings from #tellhisstory.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      They do say (whoever “they” are) that often we’re most bothered by a trait in others that we struggle with in ourselves. I guess impatience fits in that category for me. I don’t like seeing impatience in others; thus, I don’t like seeing it in me. But yes–grace!!!

  22. Kelly Chripczuk

    I was talking with my counselor about this recently. I’ve grown so much in this past year, but oh, I would love to be so much further beyond where I am now. Some of it, I think, comes down to trusting the grace of God that moves us from grace to grace at a pace we can sustain. Change at the rate I might prefer would likely, in all actuality, be devastating.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh! This is good, Kelly. A pace we can sustain. Love that. If life changed as rapidly as I sometimes *think* I want it to, I’d be in a fine mess of mixed-up emotions. Instead, God strings things out in the best timing possible, even our own transformation. Thanks for sharing what you’re learning.

  23. Beverley

    I often fail with having patience with myself – i often hear my mind muttering ‘i thought you weren’t going to think/act/be that way again and here you are, just where you have always been’ then i try and brush the thoughts aside and yes, accept the grace that is offered for my failings, which are many.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know exactly what you mean, Beverley. I feel the same way. Well, maybe we’re not so great at changing our failings, but perhaps we’re getting better at accepting grace to cover them! 🙂

  24. Laura Thomas

    Well I’m pretty much impatient with everything, so impatience with myself is a given. I forget sometimes that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit. We tend to focus on those “biggies” like love and joy and the “toughies” like self-control, but PATIENCE is right there in the middle. So I most definitely need to work on that fruit, starting with having some patience with myself as a work in progress, loved deeply by God. Thanks for this, Lisa! Stopping by today from Tell His Story 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, certain fruit is very tasty—I’m ready to dig into more love, joy, and peace. But I agree with you, Laura—patience, self-control, etc., are usually a little slower to ripen. 😉

  25. Jean Wise

    What a powerful quote and thank you for being honest and vulnerable to share this and a peek into your heart too. So true. I won’t be patient with other until I am patient with myself. Long way to go. LOL

  26. Linda Stoll

    Lisa, hi! This has nothing to do with your actual post … I just scrolled through the comments from 2015 and realize how many of our old friends are no longer blogging. It made me realize how much I miss them. I hope that they are well and happy and living life to the fullest.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I found it interesting to look back and reminisce too, Linda. I’d love to know how our old blogging friends are doing and what they’re up to now. I join you in hoping they are happy and healthy!

  27. Richella J Parham

    Beautifully stated, Lisa. It’s amazing, isn’t it, that while we work to be gracious and compassionate toward others, we can sometimes be so grace-less to ourselves. Sweet Therese has much to teach us–so much wisdom for one so young!

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

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