Patience is one of those virtues that is really stretched by parenting. Or maybe "built" is a better word than stretched. Today I was simply putting some temporary tattoos on the girls' arms. They earned them through chores and potty -- we use either tattoos or candy as incentive usually. I have yet to research if these things are actually putting harmful chemicals and colors into our kids' epidermises, so if you know something I don't, please let me know! Either way, it's a fun thing and the girls love it.

If you have ever dabbled in the art of temporary tattooing, however, you know you have to wait about thirty seconds for the tattoo to stick. And today, I found it fairly difficult to wait...for thirty seconds! I mean, come on! That's a ridiculously short amount of time to get bored while waiting! But it happened, and it struck me at how common this lack of patience really is.

It is no secret that our culture is very much an on-demand society. We have the world in our palms and can access it whenever we want. So when a slimy little second of pause comes up to interrupt our busy days, what else would we do but fill it with something? And after all this time spent filling time (usually with meaningless phone checking), I think we have gotten used to not having to wait. And that, my friends, is not good for our souls.

We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

I think we need to practice the discipline of letting ourselves wait. It seems silly with something small like applying temporary tattoos, but it is in these little moments that such efforts lead to growth. Without trying on a daily level, it is easy to let something like our ability to wait slip away, as it likely already has for most of us. But setting aside this restlessness in silence and abiding in the moment will make our lives that much richer, build our character, and I would argue bring us closer to God.