Last weekend I had the perfect pre-Mother’s Day day planned. It consisted of a lovely drive across town, fresh picked peaches and lunch at an olive mill. All of it absolutely brimming with country charm and locally-sourced ingredients. Only my day ended with no peaches and no olive mill. We got about 500 yards from our destination, when my impatience took us on a devastating detour.
I remember years ago … before children and slow wi-fi connections … when I used to be patient. In fact, I would have told you it was one of my best qualities. Patient in lines, patient with older drivers, patient with slow sales clerks and patient while waiting on hold. I’d mentally shine my halo when thinking of this golden attribute of mine.
Then I had children.
My impatience didn’t show itself at once. No, it took about three months, when my friends started bragging about their babies sleeping through the night at that age, and mine didn’t. I’d spread on a little more under-eye concealer, refill my coffee mug and pray for this phase to pass quickly.
Life went on, another baby boy joined the family and then a third, and by that time, all that patience was a distant memory. We didn’t do anything efficiently. For the life of me, I couldn’t get those three boys to fall in line with my productive plan for our lives. Especially potty training. No amount of Cheerios as target practice in the potty, or M&M’s as rewards, could convince those boys life was better without diapers … until they were 3-1/2.
Every single one of them!
I’m convinced God put me on this earth so others could feel better about their parenting.
Not every moment was spent in frustration, but something had changed inside of me. And as I thought back about how patient I used to be, I realized it’s easier to choose patience when things are in my control. But when I can’t control the situation, well, frustration bubbles up quickly.
And that’s what happened on the way to the peach festival. After an hour and a half drive across town, we’d waited another hour and a half in a creeping line to enter the orchard, and were within 500 yards, when I “discovered” a short cut on the map on my phone. I remembered the back entrance from the year before and was convinced I could find it again.
So my husband turned off the main road (with less than 500 yards to go, I might remind you) only to discover the map was wrong. Lines of cars filled every road in every direction. There was no “short cut” street in real life. By the time we drove miles to find another back road, we ended up on the OTHER SIDE of the entrance facing yet another long line.
After three hours on the road, we turned around and headed home. A stop at a BBQ restaurant somewhat redeemed the day, but I was so disappointed with myself. I KNOW better than to take short cuts in an unfamiliar place.
But that day, everything felt out of my control. I was so impatient, I felt I couldn’t wait another minute. I couldn’t sit there doing “nothing” any longer.
My Mother’s Day outing reminded me of a truth I need to plant deep in my heart: Some things can’t be rushed.
There is a time to move forward. There is a time to be productive. But there is also a time to wait with patience.
People can’t be rushed. Relationships can’t be rushed. God’s timing can’t be rushed. Dreams can’t be rushed. And obviously, traffic can’t be rushed.
Sometimes we miss God’s best because we can’t take the waiting any longer.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 says: “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” How many of us never get to the “end of the matter” because of impatience?
I need to remember that patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). That means it can’t be produced in my flesh. It can’t be willed into being. It can only flourish by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me.
What are you growing impatient to see? Are you ready to give up? If it’s something worth waiting for, please hang on.
Don’t try a short cut. Don’t abandon hope. But rather submit your plans to God, and ask for more of His Spirit in your life to endure the wait.
I’m pretty sure it will be worth it in the end.