One of my favorite songs sung by my favorite folk singer (among others) has some of my favorite lyrics: I do not count the time, for who knows where the time goes? But if we are counting time, it’s been 24 days since I last posted. Wow. A long time. But, in my defense, a lot has happened in those 24 days: I went on a road trip, moved out of my apartment, and relocated back across the ocean. Turns out, moving your life to another country (again!) kinda fills your time. Who’d have thought it, eh 😉
In the busyness of all those adventures, my bible journal has still been getting some attention. In fact, my Bible has become so full of my journaling and art that I’ve begun Bible No. 2! Still, you never can spend too much time with the Lord, right?!
Since we’re talking about time, let’s talk about patience. I’m sure you’ve had some wise old relative tell you a time or two that patience is a virtue. And sure, it’s one of the fruits of the spirit. But it isn’t always easy, is it? Sometimes, impatience is the go-to. Our whole world seems impatient sometimes, so it’s easy to slip into step with that ‘right now’ culture we seem to live in.
I don’t have time. Ever heard those words come out of your mouth? I know I have. Don’t have time for Bible study, don’t have time for more than five minutes of prayer in the morning, don’t have time to volunteer at that church event, don’t have time, don’t have time, don’t have time.
Sometimes, time just doesn’t seem to last long enough, or reach far enough.
But then there are those other times, the times I find more difficult, the moments of our lives when time seems to last too long.
I arrived back in England just hours after 4th July celebrations ended. In a few days, I’ll start my new job. The days in between have been full of busy things, sorting things out, settling back in, finding my feet again. And a lot of impatience, if I’m honest. A year ago, I thought my dream was coming true, and all the waiting I had done was coming to an end. I was so sure God was leading me to big things: to settling down, to finding my place. I thought my journey to God’s plan for me was coming to an end and I would finally be there.
But that didn’t happen. And when you’re knocking on the door of thirty, that can be a little frustrating. I know I’m not the only one to feel that way, to share in the joy of friends marrying and bringing beautiful children into the world and finding satisfaction in their careers, and however much you are so happy in their happiness, however much you love them and thank God for the great things He is doing in their lives, to still feel that little grunt of when will it be my time? To think, Come on, God, I’m not getting any younger here. To secretly sigh and wish God would hurry on up with your happy ever after.
But that’s where I went wrong, where I was foolish and ungrateful and all too human. Where I thought my muddied view was as clear as God’s perfect view. Because how could I ever think my journey to God’s plan for me would ever be done? God’s plan is not just an end goal: it’s a running-the-race, every-day-counts, the-fun’s-never-over kind of plan. It’s an adventure. Changing and exciting and with a purpose for things we don’t always see or expect but that always makes sense in the end. And every step is just another step along the way.
My timing is flawed. At our church children’s group we used to play the Minute Game. All the kids would line up, backs to the clock, and would have to count to a minute and sit down on that sixty second mark. I would always watch on and smile when the first kid sat down on 27 seconds, the whole group waiting for what seemed like eternity until the last player finally sat down at 93 seconds. But while I laughed at the kids’ inability to count a minute accurately, I’m not much better. Mississippis or no Mississippis, I cannot keep time with the accuracy of clock hands. Can anyone?!
We think we know the exact time when things should happen. Some of us even plan our lives that way. Maybe you thought, back when you were seventeen, by the time I’m thirty I’ll be married, have two kids and a house with four bedrooms and a greenhouse in the back. Or maybe you looked ahead and thought, I’ll start my job at 21, three years to promotion, another three to leadership, by thirty-five I’ll be my own boss and so on. There’s nothing wrong with planning those things out, hoping for them and working towards them. But in the end, God will decide the when. Because while our human timing is imperfect, God’s timing is perfect.
So I’m practicing patience. I’m settling into a room in someone else’s house while I wait for the time when I will have my own home. I’m testing out the waters of an exciting new job, seeing where the tide will roll in on God’s plans for my career. I’m leaving the big things to Him, because if there’s one person’s timing I trust, it’s His. And while I’m patiently waiting, I’ll enjoy the ride, because I know that God is not the sort to say ‘Okay, you’re all done now’, but rather to eagerly wave me forward with a ‘Come on! There’s so much more to see!’ And boy, if that isn’t why I love Him so much! 🙂