Good things take time. There’s more to life than rushing from one thing to another.
After reading one of the devotionals sent by my friend, a missionary in Poland, I felt that one of the items I make for Good Good Life shop would be very suitable for his ministry. Wanting to help and bless him, as well as the potential recipients, I offered to make 100 of the crosses pictured below.
He agreed and I ended up making 70 for men and 30 for women (in Polish they’re slightly different). As you can see, each cross, apart from writing, has two doves on each side of the horizontal part of the cross and a ribbon to finish off. That’s a lot of detail and each requires time to be done properly. I’d previously done a few of these crosses and unrealistically assumed a hundred to be done as quickly. And as quickly disappearing from my list of things to do, allowing me to move on to the next ‘project’.
As you can guess, my approach wasn’t quite right and also, it took longer than expected. When I was about to get upset about it, God showed me an important truth.
Good things take time. If something is to be done well and with the right effect, it needs time and effort. Simple but, more often than not, hard to apply in a busy life. When I was getting angry about how long it’d been taking me to make the crosses, God reminded me why I’d signed up to make them in the first place. I wanted to bless others and know that the things I do make a difference in other people’s lives.
I have a tendency to approach things in life as projects. I come up with an idea, execute it as quickly as possible and tick it off my list. The last element is the most satisfying. Yes, I have a problem with placing too much value on just having things done. It’s something I’m working on.
The truth is any good thing take time. We don’t build a lasting relationship overnight, we don’t form character in a day, we don’t learn things in an instant, we don’t build a career in a month. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days, not 40 minutes. Israelites trekked through the wilderness for 40 years, not 40 days. Abraham waited a hundred years for Isaac to be born. When people rushed not many good things happen. When David saw Bathsheba taking a bath and followed his impulse immediately, he ended up sleeping with another’s man wife and eventually killing the man.
Multi-tasking is overrated
The world around has convinced us that we need to be all and do it all but it’s not true. So we do things in a rush to fit in an hour or a day as much as possible. But even then, we can’t do everything and it only leaves us frustrated. Deceived by this lie, that I have to keep doing things in order to be a valued member of the society, I’ve mastered rushing but I’m not really proud of it at all.
Have you ever been so hungry for spare time that when you finally got it, you wanted to do a hundred things at the same time? I have. Since having my daughter 3 years ago, the time is scarce. I’m a person who likes having time and has way too many ideas about how to spend it. When I have an hour or a half free, I want to do everything I haven’t done in the last three years.
I tend to cram in so many things in any given time that I end up rushing through each of these tasks. I don’t take time to think about them and prepare to do them. I often go through them without enjoying and appreciating what I do. In the end, I do them just for the sake of doing and not for the results, I want to see.
When I rush I end up dissatisfied with myself, because I think I’m not quick enough, while in reality, I can’t do 10 different things in half an hour. In the end, I feel like a failure. In all of that, I also focus only on myself and on being ‘the best’, and forget about God’s presence in every, big or little, task. We can’t be praying 24/7 but we can worship God 24/7 with the things we do and how we do them.
Rushing brings dissatisfaction, lack of enjoyment, opens up space for anger and affects other in a negative way. It makes you a machine doing things without meaning. Have you also experienced it?
Rushing affects the mind and makes us to concentrate only on the things to do, not on the people, and on our own wellbeing. It affects the mood and stirs up unnecessary anger. Perfect circumstances for the devil to use and make us feel worse about ourselves.
Break the cycle
We can easily avoid all these disappointments by doing less and by taking enough time for each thing. Do one thing, do it properly. Start, finish, and take time to look at the results and thank God for his provision.
I’m learning to stop rushing through things to start rushing to God when a temptation comes in.
Good things take time, because God wants us to savour them, to learn something in the process and to form our character. When we rush from one thing to another, we don’t take time to appreciate what we’ve just done. We don’t take much notice of other people’s feelings and our satisfaction in ourselves and in God isn’t very high.
We need to prioritise being over doing. If, like me, you rush from one thing to another and rush in life, I pray for both of us today that God helps us to break that cycle and helps us to slow down. I pray we’ll do less but better and in a more satisfying way. And, that in general, we won’t be assigning more value to do doing than to being – in the presence of God, with others and on your own.