“It’s taking too long…” is my daughter’s favorite phrase as a four-year old. Every time she says it, I shudder because I’m usually thinking the same thing.
She acts as if she might die because the cookies aren’t coming out of the oven soon enough. Waiting is a form of torture, patience a prison. Even between two songs in the car, the brief few second interlude, she erupts from the back seat, “Turn on another song mommy!”
It’s coming, Zoe… hold on.
I have empathy for her. I curse a season if it lasts longer than a few months. I manipulate situations to speed them up. I pray for overnight miracles. I despise the healing that takes a lifetime. Aren’t we all in a constant state of recovery though?
I’d rather be a bamboo plant. Did you know bamboo species can grow over one inch an hour? Yes, you read that right. Shooting up to the skies with a ferocious velocity, makes them the fastest growing plant in the world.
Cedar trees are the slowest. There is a type of cedar tree that takes 150 years to grow just four inches. Four inches in 150 years!
My prayers usually focus on asking God to show up like a bamboo plant. Or at least make me like one.
Yes, I’ve experienced His healing on the spot. I know God can act fast. I’ve seen change overnight and been surprised by instant answers to prayers. Those moments when God seems to push a button are magical. Insta-God feels friendlier, doesn’t He? He is kind and understanding towards our four-year old nature.
I prefer when God runs at a sprinter’s pace, even better when I can feel the wind of His presence all around me.
I sway towards speed, and it shows up in the way I relate to Him, the world around me, and my own soul.
I shout “hurry up” to my kids multiple times a day, dragging them from one task to another like we’re trying to win first place.
I equate success with efficiency and visible productivity, fighting off the urge to waste time. My idol becomes purpose and I refuse to rest in obscurity.
I like God to speak in the form of a checklist or three points, instead He usually draws me into the garden, deeper into the mystery of who He is, down the quiet backroads of life. His perseverance and unending patience makes us squirm. We notice He’s not in any rush to get to the finish line. Does He even have one?
I see the battle going on these days, around me and in me. There is the side encouraging us to slow down, to just be, to rest, to savor. They highlight God’s slowness as His strength. Then there are the voices who inspire us to “Make it happen!”, to take action on our dreams, and make progress, even if just a little. They emphasize God’s delight in moving us forward. Do you find it hard to navigate between these two seemingly conflicting messages and images we see and hear all the time? I know I do.
I feel the tug to run at two different paces. You too?
Every runner knows it’s necessary to have fast and slow-twitch muscles to become strong and fit. Our workouts incorporate exercises that strengthen both. Timed laps around the track one day, hour long runs the next day. We alternate our training to ensure we have stamina and speed.
Do you notice how God is developing your perseverance right now? Maybe nothing around you shimmers and shines with newness, and the path ahead looks long and winding. He is training us to run the marathon of hope without cutting corners or giving up!
At the same exact time, God is also concerned with our fast-twitch muscles. As His children, we can carry an expectant heart, always looking forward to what He’s about to do. Our giddy excitement is safe with Him. We never need to tame our wild faith. We can execute our ideas without the fear of failure holding us back from taking the leap.
Rather than being either-or, God is building our stamina and speed simultaneously. If life feels up and down, start and stop, slow and fast, rest assured my friend, you’re on the right path.
You were made to dwell in the tension, your life is a forest of cedars and bamboo shoots.
God’s pace feels random. The Spirit moves like the wind and we can’t help but be blown about. Staying in step with Him takes practice, fine tuning our ability to listen, to sway with His nonrhythmic movements.
Sometimes He’s inviting us to sow seeds in darkness, to celebrate the delay, welcome the wait, to rebel against the gods of progress and instant gratification, to take naps, grow gardens, and eliminate hurry from our vocabulary.
Other times He asks us to drop everything and follow, to throw off the weights that so easily entangle, lift up our feet and run like a gazelle across the African plains. Maybe today He says start or take the tiny risk, don’t wait another minute.
More importantly, I wonder if we discover our pace with Him, without worrying about our place among the other runners?
How do you sway? Is it easier for you to accept it when God’s go rather than his wait?
Be aware of what pace comes more natural for you.
The Sway Series is about letting go of our need to reach for the clean-cut answers, the certainty of either-or, where everything feels crisp and ironed flat, and instead become comfortable with movement, to have a more fluid faith and life.
To read more posts from the Sway Series go here!