Patience in the Process
Inside I was grumbling, maybe cursing. I had accumulated huge piles of wood for my projects and they had gotten, shall we say, a little out of hand… Today was the day I had to get it all organized. Clouds were billowing and threatening to dump water, weeds were encompassing my workspace, and a halfway-chopped tree was in my way. I groaned. Most of my closer friends know that cleaning and organizing makes me feel like I’m dying. It’s not my joy. It’s not my spiritual gift. Organization is my enemy that I try to avoid at all costs. Yet, I desire organization deeply – just not the process of getting there.
Since my will was stronger than my reluctance today, I started slowly dragging a pallet here, throwing a board there. Once I had moved a couple pallets out of the way, I turned and realized there were whole new piles of wood under the pallets. I groaned. More wood. This will never be finished and I will be out here for the REST OF MY LIFE! The drama continued in my head until I imagined myself old and grey, bones creaking, still moving wood. I don’t claim to be dramatic, but maybe… anyways.
This process reminded me of something God has been working in me recently: patience with the journey. I often find myself frustrated with the deep sense of brokenness inside – as if I’m incomplete, lacking something. I wonder if God is thinking, “Isn’t she a piece of work?” When will you finally excavate to the last of my problems!? How deep does this rabbit hole of issues GO? I feel the depth of my brokenness daily. And sometimes I find that this leads me into a place of hopelessness and despair much like King David expressed through many of the Psalms: crying out to God to be his security, his shield, his refuge and hiding place because life became too overwhelming. It has brought me to a place where I have to pause, over and over again, to ask God what he is doing and wait.
Here’s a few things that this has brought me to. Patience with the journey looks like allowing myself to be exposed for who I really am, to God and to others. It means that my life won’t ever look perfect, organized, and put together to those around me (and definitely not to myself). It looks like ending my thrashing about in resistance to what God is doing in me. It looks like calling a ceasefire against God, realizing that I don’t need to be in control. It means allowing myself to sink into the design of the journey HE has ME on instead of wishing I could fast-forward through the difficulties or wishing I had someone else’s life. That last one cuts deep and creates wells of tears in my eyes because my life has been anything but easy. Sometimes I wish it was different.
The journey that we are all on was carefully and thoughtfully designed as part of a grand story written by a wise and loving God and Father. Our lives will never be “perfect” as hard as we strive towards that. The “UnderConstruction” signs won’t be put away until we are face-to-face with God. Our lives are meant to be shared, in all their glorious mess and processes. It’s how we were designed. If this hit a chord in your heart, my encouragement today would be to be still and wait patiently (Psalm 37:7). Allow yourself to experience the grace that God has already extended (James 4:6). Don’t give up but draw NEAR to God during these times (James 4:8). He longs to comfort and console your weary heart with his love during these hard times (Zeph. 3:17, James 5:11). When you find an obstacle has finally moved in your life, expect more work to begin and don’t get tired, because God isn’t tired of you, or me. There’s always more work to be done, and at the end there is brilliant glory and never-ending peace awaiting. Be encouraged and press on weary brothers and sisters (Phil. 3:14,15). If anyone wants to help move some wood, there’s still plenty, come on over.