I love a freshly weeded flowerbed. Nothing but beautiful flowers and clean mulch, nothing sticking out where it shouldn’t be. Just beauty.
The problem is I hate weeding.
Sitting in the dirt, grabbing as close to the base as possible so I pull the root, frustration when I get a handful of weed ‘leaves’ and no root, time in the hot sun, and the knowledge that those weeds I just pulled will somehow come back next week.
I dread and put off the process while looking with envy at weed-free flowerbeds, somehow forgetting that they are weed-free because of effort on someone’s part. I want the success and satisfaction of the goal without the time and effort required to get there.
The crazy thing is my kids are the same way. My son really wants to read but he doesn’t want to learn how to sound out individual letters. My daughter wants to play songs on the piano but sighs in frustration at the simple exercises she has to practice to learn scales and fingerings. And I remind them constantly that practicing and doing the little things will result in greater things. But it takes time and energy and diligence and faithfulness. Now. Today.
I really need to apply my own peptalks to myself.
I think many of us struggle with the idea of the journey. Making the little steps now toward a bigger future goal. We want to arrive, to achieve something, to reach a goal. We want to be a certain weight or master a skill. But it’s the pesky little daily practice that proves so difficult.
Our Christian walk can have the same frustrations. We think how content we’ll be once we reach a certain point in our Christian life. We’ll be the one mentoring others, we’ll know all the encouraging Bible verses, we’ll understand all the difficult passages. But daily Bible reading? Who has time for that? Actually studying a passage instead of just skimming it? That would take too much effort. We want to skip the journey, the actual process of learning and growing. But as with all tasks, the journey is necessary to reach the end.
We can point to numerous biblical characters who had to wait through a long journey before they reached the desired goal. Sarah was barren for decades. Joseph was in prison for crimes he didn’t commit after being unfairly sold into slavery. The Israelites were forty years on a literal journey through the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. David knew he would be king years before it happened and once he was king, life didn’t get any easier.
The important thing to remember is that when we’re in the process of learning, doing, waiting, God doesn’t leave us. He is walking the journey with us, helping us, loving us, proving himself faithful. As much as we want to skip this step in life, it is in the journey that we learn the most and see God work. If we skipped straight to the end goal, oh the blessings we would miss! The journey isn’t glamorous or always fun and it usually requires patience and consistent effort, but how much more satisfying it is in the end.
So if I were to sit down with you and we were to talk about the waiting stage you’re in and how I hate weeding and just want the results without the effort, I would smile and nod in agreement and then encourage you to keep on being faithful. Because the journey is just as important as the destination.
Photo by Nanda Green on Unsplash