Some life lessons we’re slow to learn and God keeps teaching. Lessons like waiting, trusting, and resting. Even at my mature age, I’m still a novice.
I try to wait patiently on God’s will, trust completely in his provision, and rest calmly in his care. But when urgent matters continually pull me from my work making deadlines look increasingly impossible, I feel frustrated, anxious, and stressed.
During the first few months of last year and this year, this kind of struggle was particularly intense. Until God’s Spirit worked a sudden shift in my emotional outlook, my writing fell into place, and my projects were finished on time. It was as dramatic as if a switch had been flipped.
I wish I could tell you that something I thought or said or did caused the sudden change. I’d like to give you three magic keys or a six-step strategy. But I can’t. I could do nothing to make my work fall into place, create a calm heart, or fill my spirit with peace. God did it all.
Although God always does what needs to be done, he certainly doesn’t always do it in my time frame! I love the satisfaction of having things completed ahead of schedule, but sometimes it seems to me as if God waits to act until the very last minute.
Apparently I’m a very slow learner. God keeps teaching me the same lessons about waiting, trusting, and resting. If a project is from the Lord, he will equip me to finish on time. Even if I don’t complete the project or if I do it so poorly that I fall flat on my face, I have to trust that too as his will. Though he slay me, yet will I trust him (Job 13:15).
Are you, like me, a slow learner?
2 thoughts on “Slow learner”
I’m not sure if this is the right way to respond to your blogs. I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of blogs and responses. I get your blogs via email, and hope this gets to you when I hit “reply”. I read all your blogs as they come through and am benefited by them. I read the Christian Renewal, so I pay particular close attention to the blogs that are not part of articles you have written in CR.
I can’t tell you how I appreciated this blog re: “Slow Learner”. I’m 55 years old and I’m still learning to juggle time commitments related to family and ministry. I can relate to your struggle: “when urgent matters continually pull me from my work making deadlines look increasingly impossible, I feel frustrated, anxious, and stressed”. In my ministry I’m juggling a myriad of things: Staying on top of communications related to 450 students; providing administrative and training consultation to 37 MINTS Study Centres in Central America and 3 in the Toronto area; writing projects; grading papers; maintaining public relations; etc, etc, etc and add to that primary family-related time commitments.) I have yet to experience what you write: “Until God’s Spirit worked a sudden shift in my emotional outlook, my writing fell into place, and my projects were finished on time. It was as dramatic as if a switch had been flipped.”. But I pray daily for continued grace to fulfill my tasks, though admittedly often accomplished in “delayed time”. I also know that literally thousands among churches and individual supporters are praying for me and my family. That knowledge alone gives me strength and focus. Thank you for your thought-provoking blogs. This one particularly piqued my interest as one that I could especially identify with.
Thanks so much for taking time from your incredibly busy schedule to reply, Eric! I totally understand the feelings of pressure when so many things hang over your head. As more and more stressors occur in my life this year, I keep telling myself, “Apparently God knows that I can handle a lot more stress than I think I can!”
I spend most of my days feeling overwhelmed, but this week God has blessed me with an amazing sense of peace and confidence. The same thing happened during the first part of last year, while I was struggling with some huge deadlines. It happened while I was writing the manuscript for “A Month of Sundays” and I wrote about it in the meditation for Day 23, Sufficient Grace (pp. 108-109).
May God will bless you too with his grace and peace in palpable ways!